romanced: dream

A majority of us are raised in a society where we go to school, get a job, get married, have a family, and then our children continue that cycle. Where I am at currently in my life is post-going to school, but pre-getting a job or I am even further away from getting married; I have very little experience with relationships and romance in general. I only recently had my first relationship, and we agreed that the title was too… intense, and that we would prefer to stay as friends who date exclusively first, as we get to know each other better.

I am embarrassed to admit that I would actually want to be in a relationship. Not for the sake of being in one so that I am not single or to check part of another box off the unspoken to-do list of life, but more for the life experience that comes from it. Even if this relationship does not lead to marriage but rather ends sourly in a break-up, I don’t mind so long as I can learn something more about myself from the experience. Just being a part of the ride is enough to make me happy. To understand what it means to be somebody else’s significant other, while at the same time, being able to see a person as my own, it is important for me. I want to know that somebody out there who can make me feel and act that way exists.

The concept of love and relationships, it’s not something that can be approached logically. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we as humans are always so fascinated by the idea. No matter what we try to find in somebody else as a mate, sometimes, our hearts may not always agree. Let’s say we want somebody who is tall, Caucasian, and muscular, but we end up in a relationship with somebody who is medium-height, African American, and scrawny. Yet, we are not un-attracted to the African American, despite them being not what we would prefer. And that is because of what they have to offer beneath the surface. While they do not physically resemble what we would want in an ideal mate, the personality and ethics of this African American appeals to us.

The concept of love has a lot of gray areas. For example, one might view a woman getting hit by her husband as domestic violence without any context. But what if the woman wanted her husband to hit her, because that was her kink? I’m not going to explore that idea more, because it is a very…awkward topic, but you get the idea. There are other emotions, primal, hormonal, and hard to understand in general, that cloud our judgement and make us act beyond reason and logic. Yet, that’s what makes being romanced such an exciting and terrifying journey. The unknown does not necessarily settle well with me, but being able to single out that special somebody out of the several millions of people in the world, it’s a wonderful feeling. And it’s a feeling that every human being deserves to have, or at least in the world of my featherlight dreams.

Healing: dream

Being able to recover from something and move on, it’s a wonderful feeling. The healing process is a vital part in us maturing as human beings. A lot of it starts with forgetting about what it is that hurt us to begin with, specifically that pain. Yet, you still need to keep the lesson learned from whatever hurt you in mind. It could be that certain people are not good people, or be less naive, but whatever the lesson is, know what needs to be learned. Secondly, while keeping that newly learned moral in the back of your head, move on with your life. It might mean cutting off old parts of your life, but you need to do it, or else you could very easily revert to old, harmful habits that could cause you a lot of pain and possibly, cause you to revert to self-inflicting tendencies. That is the biggest emotional hurdle in the healing process is cutting off the past and forgetting about it.

The next part of the healing process is filling your life with new things to replace the old. They don’t have to be similar things. Preferably, they shouldn’t be similar things. Anything that reminds you of your past pain, that’s just asking to be triggered. Being able to do that, it also helps you forget the past a lot easier. You’re able to let go and not think about whatever horrible influences have hurt you. And while cutting off is the biggest challenge emotionally, this part is the most difficult part mentally is putting the past behind you. You are probably used to a certain routine, and you want to revert to it. You probably wouldn’t want to include new things into your life and you yearn for the past. Very few people are naturally good at adapting to and accepting change. And that’s to be expected. We can’t all just be okay to uprooting our daily routines. But being able to accept the change, even in small steps, it helps.

By allowing these new influences into your life, you can expel a lot of the negative emotions that have been burdening you earlier. You stop thinking about those dark thoughts, or about the causes of them. Instead, every day becomes a new opportunity for you to discovery something new about yourself or the world around you. You start to find yourself smiling a lot more, and while you know that this world is a little less wonderful than you remember it being, the parts that are genuinely wonderful that you discover makes that journey worthwhile. Being able to see the good in the world, it’s refreshing. Whether it’s new people, new hobbies, new places, you’ll surprise yourself with how much this world has to offer, despite whatever it was that hurt you in the first place. You stop thinking about the guilt, the pain, the trauma, and it helps you focus on future and what you can do as an individual to make the most of yours.

Being able to completely cast your past behind, it’s not easy. Those wounds from your trauma, they do become scars, but with time, you will forget what exactly gave you those scars exactly, but you will still vaguely remember how you got them, and what you can do to prevent yourself from falling into the same mistake again. The world will no longer feel like a cage or trap confining you, and it will open itself up to you. You are no longer being held down or back by those negative influences and burdens. Instead, you can focus on making the person you see in the mirror somebody you can love more and more. And once you reach that point of loving yourself, don’t stop there. Find new things about the world, and figure out what new things you love as well, and how you can work towards incorporating that newfound passion or interest into your life. With healing, you gain depth and character and that’s a life worth living in this featherlight world.

under the cherry blossoms: dream

It might just be because I have watched too many Japanese dramas, but I want to watch cherry blossoms bloom in Japan. Seeing the skies flood with these beautiful pink flowers is a sight to behold and it symbolizes so many different things: new life, a new year, and new opportunities.

When I started Featherlight, it was meant for me to better understand myself post suicide attempt. I used writing to help me cope with so many different kinds of pains and losses inflicted upon me by people who quite frankly were a waste of my time. But this post is not going to focus on that sort of negativity. I made my one jab and I’m moving on from that. I’m here to talk about cherry blossoms and new dreams.

In an ideal world, we can wake up every morning with a big, bright smile on our faces. There would be no need for negativity or bringing others down. When problems arise, we would simply face them and not make bigger deals out of them: situations would never escalate. Life would be simple but pleasant. With the bloom of this year’s cherry blossoms, I can finally say that I see the ugly side to ambition. The stress of taking on too much, it drives us mad with insecurity, exhaustion, and stress. We rub it in to others that we are doing more, as a facade masking how pained or shaken we really are. We are human beings, not robots. Trying to do so much may look good on paper, but it drives away a good portion of our humanity. It wears on our stamina and it makes us unpleasant to be around for a plethora of reasons, namely that we create insecurity and uneasiness with such reckless or bashful behavior.

I don’t want anyone to ever feel like they are not good enough. We all have the privilege of living life, and nobody should ever tell you that you are not good enough or make you feel insignificant in this world. You have been given an inherent purpose by being born a living, sentient being. Use that sentience and allow it to guide you to where you want to go. Don’t be worried if you’re not getting there as quickly as the person next to you. With enough dedication at a pace that befits you, you will arrive at your destination. For me, that is in Japan, owning a bakery, and being able to watch the cherry blossoms every spring. Even if it takes me until the age of 100, so long as I can get there before death, that is all I ask.

How it is: Chapter 1

“Hey.” A small Taiwanese boy with short black hair and a square shaped jaw stepped back into his grimy, dimly-lit dorm room. Laying on the occupied bed was his roommate and childhood friend, Tarou. Tarou was a tall, decently build Japanese boy with clean features, round brown eyes, and dark hair that was often swept to the side. Many people could already guess that he was a model from one look. “Hi, Timmy.” He yawned, before going back to looking at his laptop. Timmy had just finished another week of his freshman year in college. Being a computer engineering major, he was always bombarded with homework and assignments. Coding, programming, algorithms, it was all just one big mess of numbers that he had to sort out. But that was what he enjoyed about it. Being able to create something digitally, organizing and structuring text into actual visuals, it was a lot of fun for him. And then there was Tarou, who was a drama student, and a part-time model. Tarou was always busy doing performances, ranging from singing to performing, and in his free time, the Japanese boy was at an agency downtown, the New York branch of Logan Photography, doing shoots in the trendiest outfits. The two lived together in this crammed NYU dorm room, and they were both constantly stressed out with different things. “Hey, so I’m going to be out studying with the guys tonight.” Timmy started. He had another assignment, which meant another all-nighter with his computer friends Jeff and Nate. “That’s fine. I’ll be hanging out with my fan club.” Tarou joked, referring to a trio of girls who would follow him around the moment he set foot in public. He actually would never approach any of those three harpies willingly. “You really should just settle for one of them, or be honest with them. Leading all three of them on like that, it’s not right.” Timmy frowned. “Eh, like I care or have time to sit down and talk to them about feelings.” Tarou shrugged. He was too immersed in watching a music video on Youtube that featured him as the male lead.

“Honestly, how do you do it? Your roommate sounds crazy.” A tall but lanky male, Jeff, looked at Timmy. The two were sitting with their friend, a tall but muscular youth, Nate, doing their computer science homework in the library. “I just don’t get it. How can anyone put up with somebody who’s basically a sociopath?” Nate frowned in agreement. “Sociopath is a harsh way of putting it.” Timmy shrugged. He was referring to how Tarou would lead on several girls, causing him to have quite the following amongst female students in the greater New York area. “He just doesn’t know how to handle so many girls liking him at once. Plus, when we were kids, he wasn’t terribly attractive, so he’s just not used to be seen that way.” Timmy explained, realizing his own bad habit of omitting certain information. “Wait, Tarou used to be ugly?!” Jeff and Nate looked at each other in disbelief. “Yeah! Haven’t I ever told you that before?” Timmy fished out his phone and started flipping through his photos. “Oh wait, here we go.” He stopped at a picture from middle school of a noticeably younger Timmy standing with a stout, overweight boy with an acne-riddled face and large glasses that obscured the upper half of his head. “THAT’S HIM?!” Both of them yelled, completely shocked. “What the hell happened to him? Did he get hit by a truck and then use plastic surgery to rebuild his entire body?” Nate pondered. “No, that’s obviously not Tarou, right?” Jeff theorized. “Nope, that’s him. This was back in 8th grade, when he was still a fat blob.” Timmy answered.

“Hey, Timmy!” A chubby 12 year-old boy ran up to him. They were both in middle school, specifically the black top, walking towards their next classroom. “Tarou! Calm down! You’re already out of breath!” Timmy was right. The Japanese boy was panting and sweating profusely as he finally caught up to his friend in the hallways. “Wait, why are you waiting? Keep moving! We’re going to be late for English!” Tarou huffed. “Alright, alright.” The two started to walk. “But what did you want to talk about?” Timmy eyed his sweaty friend. “I just wanted to say hi!” Tarou laughed, wiping off his forehead. “Hey, you two!” The boys noticed a slim Singaporean girl, Valerie. “Tarou and Timmy, T and T, you two are dynamite!” She laughed. “What the heck, Valerie?” Tarou rolled his eyes, unamused. “Actually, though.” Timmy laughed, appreciating the pun; Tarou would be the more serious of the two, while Timmy was much more easygoing, something that stands true even to this day. “And that was my attempt at being funny.” She shrugged before joining them in their walk to English class. It was funny to think about how they were friends from then even to now, at NYU. Timmy fondly chuckled at that memory. Even though living with Tarou now, it was stressful to him, he still knew that his friend meant well. He just did not understand why Tarou felt the need to hover over him all the time.  It made him feel like he was trapped and cornered. He had no freedom in his own home that was supposed to be their room together.

“Ugh, I just don’t want to do anything right now.” Tarou groaned to himself. He had the entire dorm room to himself while Timmy was off studying. Normally, Tarou would be swamped, being a secretary for student government in the Tisch School of Arts, the treasurer for the Japanese Business Association, and the vice president of the NYU Modeling Club, while modeling part time, all while being a second semester freshman in college. Looking back at his own journey getting to this point, he chuckled to himself. When he was younger, Tarou had little to no confidence: he was overweight, unattractive, and a lot of people ignored him because of that. Timmy was one of the few people who was there for him, since they were in kindergarten. Even during cross country and track, Timmy was the one who helped him through practice. If it was not for Timmy, he knew that he would still be that same overweight loser. He owed Timmy for his confidence. The two of them, in Tarou’s eyes, were inseparable for this reason. Whenever he was nervous, had to vent, had a problem, he would go to Timmy. But then when puberty hit, and Tarou wound up being the taller, better-looking, and outgoing of the two, things started getting weird. Everyone assumed that Tarou would be the older brother-figure to Timmy, and it got to the point where Tarou himself started to see that as well.

“Aw, is he your little brother?” A small Korean girl, Enya, smiled at the two. It was back in their first day of college. “Wait, little? I’m the older one! And we’re friends! We’re not related! We’re not even the same ethnicity!” Timmy frowned, half amused and half offended. “He’s Japanese, and I’m Taiwanese-Chinese!” He pointed out. “Oh. Well, you definitely look really mature and reliable.” Enya winked at Tarou, who was slightly confounded at her remark. It was really rare for anybody their age back in high school to say that to him, granted, everyone from high school had always known the two of them, and their general dynamic. Everyone knew that Tarou was this chubby little kid. Here in NYU, nobody knew that. “Trust me, a straight guy like you in the Tisch School of the Performing Arts, you’ll be really popular.” She giggled, running off. And everyone following Enya continued to assume that Tarou was this suave older brother to the smaller and seemingly timid Timmy. Even though Tarou was scouted to be a model back when he was in the 9th grade, he never really stopped to think about how he looked, and why it was so appealing to others.

“Hey, don’t do that.” Tarou looked at Timmy. It was the present again, so in this case, February. It was less than 30 degrees F outside. The smaller male was about to open the window to their dorm room, because it was getting stuffy and uncomfortably hot in their room. “Why?” The tired Taiwanese boy gazed over, only to be met with a worry-struck Japanese model. “You’re sick. I don’t want you to get a fever from being exposed to the cold.” Tarou frowned at his friend. The last thing he wanted to see was somebody he cared about making an easily avoidable mistake, and paying the price for it. “Oh.” Timmy quietly slumped his way back into his bed and went to sleep. This was just one of several instances of Tarou acting like a helicopter parent to Timmy. If it was not staying warm, it would be the way he dressed, making sure he ate three meals a day, that he would be on time to class, all things that a parent, not a student or peer, should ever have to concern themselves with. Making sure that Timmy was safe suddenly became the Japanese model’s priority. He never understood why at first, but he just had this urge to look after and protect the Taiwanese boy. It was stressful and exhausting to Tarou as much as it was aggravating and annoying to Timmy.

“Hi, I’m Timmy. Timmy Li!” A five year-old Timmy was smiling at a chubby Japanese boy who was in his kindergarten class, Tarou Shimizu. “H-hi.” Tarou nodded shyly in acknowledgement. The boy was not used to having friends, so seeing Timmy made him nervous. He did not know how to react to being in any kind of social setting. “I heard from Valerie, that really pretty girl in our class, that you were new to town, and I am too! I figured that us new kids got to stick together.” Timmy laughed, sitting down with Tarou in the sandbox. Timmy had recently moved to Queens from La Canada, California, just a week after Tarou had moved to Queens from Torrance, California. It was funny to Timmy that both of them were from Southern California, and that was what drew him to Tarou to begin with. “Yeah, I moved here a couple weeks ago.” Tarou shyly nodded. It was clear at that point, Timmy was the more outgoing of the two. “Hey, do you like Kingdom Hearts?” Timmy beamed at Tarou hopefully. “Yeah! I love it.” Tarou grinned sheepishly. “Want to come over and play it at my place sometimes?” Timmy offered eagerly. “Sure! I’d love to!” Tarou nodded, feeling at ease for the first time in a while: he was so used to being picked on that he was initially cautious of Timmy’s friendliness. But seeing that he was genuinely trying to be friends, it was touching. From that moment on, the two of them became and remained close friends. Almost to the point of being inseparable. That was, until college drama took its toll.

Being the right kind of competitive: dream 39

When I lived with my old roommate, they treated me like I was a stigma because I was competitive. It was as if being competitive as not okay. I think that to some degree, competitiveness does bring out the worst in us. But it also helps us push past our own boundaries and potentials and do things we otherwise would not. That is why I think there is a such thing as a right kind of competitive: being competitive with yourself. Trying to outdo yourself and be a better version of you, it is a lot healthier than trying to outdo and outperform the person next to you. The former helps build confidence while the latter screams of insecurity and nervousness.

When I was a part of the cultural club, I just felt like we needed to be the best. I have no idea why, but I had this urge to outperform other clubs and let them know that we are the best of the best. That sort of mentality did allow for me to go above and beyond: I singlehandedly catered multiple events, with attendances ranging from 50-200 people. However, it also caused a lot of people to be afraid of me. So many underclassmen were terrified of me because I came off as this intense, unapproachable, and ferocious individual. I myself could feel this sort of vindication towards people who were in other clubs; I felt personally attacked, as if they chose other similar clubs over mine because they wanted to spite me. A prime example is when another almost identical culture club (representing the same country as my own) was created. It was like a slap in the face to me. But I later realized, after quitting my own club, that those people must have felt dis-included and wanted a place to call home. At the least, they found that home for themselves, and I have learned to just be happy for them.

Rather than being competitive on behalf of anything or anyone else, be competitive on your behalf. No, an organization or club that you are in is not an extension of you. I made that mistake before, and regret how many bridges I have burned every day because of it. I mean you as an individual. How can you make yourself better? What is your ideal vision of yourself? How do you want to be the best you that you can be? These are the sorts of questions I ask myself every day. But things to also avoid are: what are your flaws? What do you not like about yourself? When you start to think negatively and focus on what you lack, it will cause you to loathe yourself. By thinking more along the lines of what you aspire to achieve, therefore, positively focusing on the possibilities, life works out a lot better for you.

Being competitive with yourself is a means of improving yourself that I think works well. Trying to figure out what you want to become, and how to become that person overall, it is a journey with a lot of potentially slippery slopes. So long as you focus on the goal, and think about nothing else, such as emotions or doubts, you will find yourself achieving that goal in due time. And once you achieve that goal, don’t stop there. Set another one. And keep doing that so that you can continuously improve yourself as a person and human being. By accomplishing that much, you will find yourself becoming a person you will always be prod of at any given time. If we can all improve ourselves in such a way, then we can continue pushing this world forward, closer to the one in my feather-light dreams.

 

Righteousness: dream 38

Righteousness, chivalry, I do not give a shit what you call it, I just wish we can all have it. Having the same set of morals is definitely something we can all benefit from as a species. Now, life is unfortunately not black and white. That damn gray area is what causes so many people to be split. Their perspectives would then be based on their experiences. And no, I am not trying to advocate a dystopian world where everyone lives off of a hive mind. Mostly because, I refuse to be copied or copy something else. I am my own person, and anyone who wants to render that fact otherwise can have their teeth curb-stomped. Okay, now back to righteousness.

Righteousness for me includes morals and etiquette. I just want everyone to be polite and nice to each other. It sounds weird at first, but it is that hard to say “hello” or “good morning” to a complete stranger (within your age group, just so that we do not encourage little kids talking to potential pedophiles)? I tried it recently on campus, and most of these students just treated me like I was some kind of weirdo. Some of them would say “thank you”, but most of them thought I was either mistaking them for a friend who looked like them, or that I was bat-shit crazy. Whoops. Did not mean to creep you out, students of my campus. I was just trying something.

But beyond just saying hi to people, righteousness include helping those you see in need. I remember seeing a girl struggling to get her suitcase up a flight of stairs, and nobody helped her. In fact, I saw people walking around her, as if she was in the way. So I went up to her and helped lift her suitcase up the flight, because if I was in that situation, I would love it if somebody else could do the same. Having empathy is where I am getting at here. Putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes when they are in trouble, and trying to help them. Prove that chivalry is not dead, and I am not saying that only young men should help out, no, girls, let’s band together and show that strength in numbers and unity! Who said acts of chivalry can only be performed by a man? That is idiotic and too 18th Century.

Being able to have a strong sense of what is right, and being able to implement it is what it means to be righteous for me. I really wish that everyone can try to be more welcoming, kindhearted, and empathetic, because it will serve you well in life along the way; more people will gravitate towards you, and with more people, more opportunities. More doors open when you are righteous. I want everyone to optimize their potentials and opportunities, which is why I hope we can all gain that sense of empathy and caring.

Initiative: dream 37

Is it that hard to take initiative? Recently, I find myself being the person who always asks others if they want to hang out, if we need to meet for a project, or if we are fighting, if we can talk. It gets frustrating when you are the person who needs to instigate consistently. Now if this was a realization post, I would probably reflect on why that might be, and go into detail about what about my own personality causes this to happen, but this is a dream post, and I have noticed that a lot of my peers feel the same way. Why do we have to ask others to hang out? What is it about the Millennial generation that we wait for others to wipe our asses for us?

Like I said, with friends, I am always the one who plans hanging out. Yet, very few of my friends ever seem to invite me to anything or ask me to do things with them. And when I do not ask them to hang out, a lot of the time, they tell me that they had unproductive weekends or nights where they would lay in bed and watch TV. It can get a bit annoying for me to hear, because I do not like to dwell on the hypotheticals, the would have, could have, should have’s of life, where that time being spent watching TV in bed could have been spent making memories, exploring a new part of the city, or just hanging out and making memories with an actual person rather than with Jane Villanueva from Jane the Virgin (love that show, but still).

When it comes to conflict, is it that hard to just swallow your pride and say “we need to talk?” Because for me, it really isn’t. I have had to instigate confrontation repeatedly, and a lot of the times, it was with people I got mad at because they treated me like shit. Maybe that’s why. They are so full of themselves and self-entitled that they think it is okay for others to go to them, rather than the other way around. And instead, they spend that time where they could be talking about the problem sulking, acting like they were horribly wronged, and spreading rumors and gossip. I guess people like that do not even deserve an apology or the luxury of confrontation, especially because they lack the initiative to reach out to you themselves. I am obviously speaking from personal experience here.

The biggest takeaway from this post I want others to know is that people who take initiative will be the winners in life, while those who are hesitant or shy, they will lose out on every opportunity that was not placed in their lap on a silver platter. I wish everyone could be brave and outgoing enough to take initiative, but not everyone can. To everyone who deserves happiness, I hope you can all learn to be fearless and put yourselves out there and be the better person. That will help you live a feather-light life.