A Naked Face

Natural “beauty” is what people say looks the best. But is it really beauty if all you can see are the cracks, scars, and pain that cries to escape? Not only will it permanently reside with me, but it is a part of me. That’s what makes me unique, right? No. It makes me fearful of who I am, hate who I am, and it burdens me so much so that stepping outside my room or my bathroom terrifies me more than a gunshot to the head. Because with a bullet in my head, at least the blood will cover the disaster of my skin.

I am trapped within a body that only wants to leave itself. The desperation to claw off my frame – I wish I could do so easily as if it were pieces of clothing. But no. It is stuck to me. Glued. I cannot get away from it.

It’s part of who I am. And I fucking hate that.

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Sink or Swim

Not too far away, rhythmically kissing our shores, lies a sublime sea full of life and the unknown. Mystery from its size, beauty from its view, and complete tranquility rides with the generous waves. The grandeur lures the curious in without any sense of warning. Two feet become two legs. Two legs become one waist. And one waist becomes an entire body enveloped in the blue vastness. But the waters take my breath away differently this time. It sucks my lungs out of my body, devours my lips so no one can hear my desperate screams, and the cavernous abyss engulfs me into itself, and here I am, drowning. There is no escape, except for those swimming past without a second look. I am exhausted. I cannot breathe. I was not built to swim. I have been worked till the end. And this is my end.

96 Chocolate Kisses

A year ago, I approached this year with the same perspective that I find myself circling back to consistently – the belief that love does not exist.

On the other hand, during the last several months, my beliefs were altered, and I grew convinced that my cynical views on love were changed for forever and that there is, in fact, unconditional love.

As the months passed by, I end seeing that love does exist, but it is way too difficult to know if it’s real, if we’re just mixed in the hype of events, or if it’s the desperate attempt to escape from the loneliness almost every person fears.

Sure, physical affection (gentle finger caressing, sweet forehead kisses, slightest innocent touches that can make your stomach drop, etc.) is great and all and having that emotional support when you’re about to have a breakdown in the middle of the day is comforting, but none of it really matters if none of it is shared with someone you’re spending the rest of your life with; otherwise, you find yourself reminiscing to every touch, lingering the presence of someone, and forever missing it.

As I type this, I honestly have no objective to what I’m saying here, but this is rather just some splurge of words to compensate for the burdening, complicating emotions felt.

Passing time by scrolling mindlessly on the Internet, images captioned with an overwhelmingly beautiful woman stripped across my screen:

“Men categorize women in four ways: mothers, virgins, sluts, and bitches. None of the above is suitable for a modern business woman, but you can create your own image by selecting pieces of each archetype that work for you.

The wisdom of the mother. The integrity of the virgin. The sexual attractiveness of the slut. The independence of the bitch.

This leaves men confused and unable to pigeonhole you. What they are forced to do instead is take you seriously.”

And just by the power of this post I came across, the reminder of a woman’s worth flooded me, and I realized that as much as I do love this man that I had the pleasure to meet, it came down to the fact that I cried more than I did smile during the time I was with him, and by that truth, I knew it would be best for me to take a deep breath and carry on with the rest of my day, knowing that I will be okay once again.

I just find it unfortunate how you can tell yourself everyday that you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak, but you still take the leap full-heartedly anyway, and then you knock yourself over about it when you find yourself right all along.

Arguments spurred regularly, emotions got to the best of us, and it was an endless battle of whether or not we should stick through it or move on and find partners better suited for both individuals.

Although this post may seem like it intends to rampage about a swirling relationship, it really isn’t. It was pure and filled with flamed emotions. Determination, passion, and stepping into a new stage of life together was heavily part of the last several months. And without this single individual, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and because of him, I grew as a person (even though he may think differently). I learned the value of spending time with family, the importance of moving on with your life and taking charge of it, the vast things in the world that are still yet to be experienced, and the lengths you would go just to see that person smile because you care that much.

I do wish it had worked out and that everlasting, unconditional love can be found with another partner, but it is the way it is.

And for those who have indeed found that love, may I say congratulations and I hope to one day find the happiness you have.

 

The Return

It’s scratching on the walls behind me.

It’s wrapping itself at my ankles, tugging firmly to drag me back.

Voices, creatures brushing by –  all of it has become muffled and blurred.

No longer am I a part of this world.

I drown in tears. I choke on fear. I am flooded with despair.

My end has come, but my existence continues.

I wait for revival; for the light to find its way through the cracked brokenness.

No longer am I a part of this world.

Without Color

Negatives and positives, ups and downs, backwards and forwards, open and close, walk and run, smiles and frowns, etc.  “Opposites attract,” is billboarded into everyone’s mind. It becomes engraved that differences benefit each other and enhance each other’s qualities. Contrasts lay everywhere, seeking for its opposite to fill in what it cannot fill on its own.

Yet, not all can be that beautiful.

She enjoys quiet stillness but screams her violent melodies. She complains of loneliness and the lack of affection but demands her independence. She sleeps wildly but gently snuggles closely next to her lover. She loathes the mainstream trends but finds herself buried in the same routines. She cradles herself into her room for days but craves interaction with the outside world. She complains of hunger but refuses to eat. She tells people to just smile and be happy but she can’t even do that herself.

There is nothing beautiful about opposites. It only creates conflict. There is nothing beautiful about chaos. No one can handle it.

Sparks of Light


Traveling for nearly three days from our far home in California to the unexpected in Kenya, not only was the entire team exhausted but we were also eager to see the children and serve in any way possible.

For several weeks, I was flooded with questions: “How will you shower?” “How many medications will you be on?” “Aren’t you scared of diseases?” “What exactly will you be eating there?” For me, all of it was unknown to me. The taunting questions arose fear that I hadn’t felt before until then, but I always responded that if I actually do end up dying there, then I’ll at least die doing something good. If it’s my time, then it’s my time. Of course, my response never really comforted anyone at home.

My faith was being tested more than I presumed.

We arrive in the Nairobi airport late in the evening and the storm is just about to roll in. Insects that look like mosquitos but are the size of moths swarm everywhere we turned, and with my dreading fear of insects, all I was thinking was, “How am I supposed to handle another ten days here?”

We eventually arrive to the village, and it felt like pulling into a dome of a greenhouse. An oasis is what they always called it.

With orientation and a tour within the first day, it was quite simple to understand the system of the village and the who’s who and what’s what. We learned that each home has an auntie and an uncle: two parents who take care of each home consisting of approximately twenty children – either co-ed or gender specific with ranges of ages. Alongside, workers come in from their communities and get paid for whatever job assigned. During our tour of the village, we stopped by the baby home in which, of course, every person on the team grew overwhelmed of cuteness. One child, Nicholas, possibly close to the age of three, shook each of our hands and took over our hearts. So, I later returned in the day with a few friends, and the children grew attracted towards my orange floral bracelet worn on my wrist given to me by a special one, and whether it was the texture or the bright color, they were mesmerized.

As the week progressed, we began our work project to make a path around the village which will later include gazebos and benches for the workers to have their lunches, spend time in prayer, or simply have alone time away from their everyday lives. It was quickly seen that the Kenyans at the village work far more harder than anyone I’ve seen. While two Kenyans worked on one side of the path while five of us on the other end, they still worked faster than we did. Although we were distracted by the colossal sizes of the foreign insects surrounding us, their laughter as we screamed and ran away warmed me inside.

Eventually, during one of the work days we had, it began to rain, which was normal during that time of year, so we began to go back to the lodges. I unfortunately felt sick for a lot of the days while I was there, so I went inside to rest until I began to feel slightly better. And through my window, I can hear music through a speaker. I glance outside my window and spot our team dancing with the guys we were working with underneath a metal hut, which they use as their garage. With eagerness, I dismissed my stomach pain as much as I could, I slipped on my rain boots and jumped in on the Cupid Shuffle. Amusement and joy fled through the storm.

. . . . .

Every morning, we gather together in one of the lodges for devotions with the team and those in the village. To prepare our hearts for the day, we begin our morning with worship and “Good, Good Father” begins to play. As we sing together and I realize where I am and consume all that I have already experienced, the goodness of God really began to sink into my heart. I couldn’t help to worship Him and thank Him for offering this oasis for the children, employment for the workers to support their families, and provide us this opportunity to serve those who serve others.

Anticipating to finish the path, I began to feel sick again and ended up staying inside for most of the day. While I was inside, I began to journal and guilt overwhelmed me. I couldn’t stand the fact that I was curled up in a ball on my bed. I felt useless. I couldn’t understand why I had to feel sick when all I wanted to do was be outside and serve. Then Brenda, a head administrator of Open Arms International, asked if I was doing okay. I told her how I was feeling, and she told me that maybe it’s God’s way of telling me that I need to pause for a second and just listen. As soon as she said that, I realized that Brent’s devotion that morning related to what I needed to reflect on: to serve with an open heart and not with the intentions or expectations of only being with kids.

We have devotions and dinner with one of the homes that evening. The children lead with prayer, recited verses that they all have memorized, and lead worship. Every time one was about to speak, they opened with, “Praise God.” We say, “Amen.” They say, “Praise God again.” We say, “Amen.” And they begin. Throughout their songs of worship, the entire African-feel filled the room, and once they got around to “He’s Got the Whole World” as a worship song, my heart completely filled. They incorporated each other’s names, and their giggles brought me warm chills. I distinctly remember them singing, “He’s got mommy and daddy, in His hands…” and throughout that verse, I couldn’t help but cry. I look at the children around me, and their joy and laughter lets me know that all we need is God and just Him alone is enough. I realized that I have so much back home, and has everything and can get anything I want, and while I thought I had everything, the children who don’t have a biological family still have each other and that is family enough. Just one nursery rhyme sung by children can stir a sea of emotions.

. . . . .

We spend church in Kenya that morning, and again, their African-feel of worship brings me goosebumps. Brent speaks of a message about humility being key to being humble, which certainly applied to many of us. After the sermon, we hike to a waterfall and spend time with the children of the village and eventually make plans for a dance party and a game of volleyball after lunch. It begins to rain, so we postpone the volleyball game, but they set up a house for all of us to gather together so they can teach us their dances. And by far, their dances have more flare to it than our Electric Slide.

Matches to a Paper Heart

Dance the streets with fireworks; light the sky with your charming laugh and spirited smile. Wave the sparks through the air, crafting pictures of colors and illumination. Persisting as the light within the darkness for those around you, your energy remains utterly captivating. As you are, you paint the earth with your adrenaline and intrepid risk. I, however, will stand at a distance dreading your torch igniting my fragile-self. Crinkled and scrabbled with haunting scars – feeble to every touch. Made of paper and straw, the simplicity of burning my soul down is as tranquil as kindling the initial flame with a match. Never will I know whether you will continue to warm my soul or burn me down.