It was tough, bitter, wild, with an unexpectedly sweet finish. A brief summary of my past year in picture and caption.
JAN: GIRLS RULE
My first serious writing venture comes to life and I experience the harrowing rigor of production. The reward is worth it when I see three charming, eccentric ladies show off their comedic chops and do what me and my friends do: dance around, play dress-up, and hit each other.
MAR: WHAT CAN A FILM DO
I get starstruck. I watch one of the most moving film and music performances at the Castro Theatre. Seated in the rafters, with several hundreds in the stadium below, we watch a documentary about a young boy who turned to the ukulele as a friend and outlet during difficult times, and grew to become an international star. I’m inspired by Jake Shimabukuro as an artist and person, because he always pushes his craft, and ultimately the work he does enhances the lives of those around him.
JAN-DEC: GIMME BABY!
All I want to do is play with babies. A typical scene when me and my big sister see a baby: Me: Ooh! Baby! Gimme gimme gimme! Sister: No, she’s my baby! Me: No, my baby! … Meanwhile, actual baby mama stands by nervously. We’re not childnappers, this is an inescapable biological thing.
JUNE: WEDDING OF THE CENTURY
At long last, my older brother marries his girlfriend, a funny and patient woman who can endure his obnoxious ways. The trade off is the most lavish wedding I’ve ever attended. It includes a pre-ceremony cruise, vows on the beach, a live Mariachi band and actual fireworks at the reception.
JULY-PRESENT: LET THE NAGGING BEGIN …
After brother gets married, then comes the barrage of emails, phone calls, and texts from mother. And always with that same tired question: WHEN ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED? I’m forced to resort to a tactic of distraction and begin sending her shiny gifts in the mail. This is forrealz people!
MAR-PRESENT: ODDBALL FRIENDS & FILM
I get to punch someone I just met, and we later collaborate on a number of music and film shows at Oddball Film and Archive. My latest show is one of the best yet, inspired and attended by my father. (Later, my dad advises I keep my shows to 30 minutes and have a cookie break half way through.)
NOV: GIRLS STILL RULE!
We are blessed to shoot a second season of Nice Girls Crew, which is way more hilarious this time around. At one point, I watch Tsai Chin chant Who Let the Dawgs Out! with Michelle Krusiec, Lynn Chen, and Sheetal Sheth, and I think to myself, “My dreams are coming true.” To see a world-class veteran acting out my weirdo scenes is surreal and exhilarating. On top of that, we add Leonardo Nam and Parvesh Cheena to the crew, who are both totally nice and frickin funny.
DEC: TOUCHING THE VOID
I become ill.
The sickness begins with a sore throat, and one day I wake up without a voice. Three days later, I get my voice back, but what follows is much worse: uncontrollable and violent coughing fits, which are amplified at night. It’s nearly impossible to sleep, and the day job and email inbox don’t let up.
After a few weeks of this, the coughing improves and morphs into a severe head cold. I can tell you I’ve seen a lot of snot in my day, like in the past twelve days specifically.
By now, I have been sick for more than six weeks, and I am feeling beaten down, mentally and physically defeated. I’ve never been so weak for this long, and work is getting busier even as the days get darker.
One afternoon I’m in bed, wrapped in a heating blanket with the space heater on full blast. I have a frigid sensation in my body, and I realize no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get warm, inside. Hours pass, and I’m still awake. I do not have the chills, I have the feeling of being frozen inside my body.
What ensues after that is a life-altering experience I’ll only summarize here (I’ll tell you in person if you want the full story). Essentially, I faced something like death, but what I can only describe as the glacial abyss. And the word terror doesn’t do it justice.
I was, I think, miraculously restored, and several things happened as I came back to life. First, I had a thought (I won’t say “vision,” just in case you think I’m cray cray) of God planting a seed in my palm, out of which a forest grew, and I became the countryside. The second thing is the magnitude of past decisions and future uncertainties seem to disappear. The third thing is that I thought of the scientific theory of the soul, and how the mass of a human doesn’t quite equate with the sum of its physical parts. But I learned from this experience that in fact the soul is not measured by its weight, but by its warmth.
I’ve heard insatiable needs are a sign of psychological problems, and a source of constant dissatisfaction. But now I emerged extremely grateful to have a soul, joyous in fact, and I saw with clear eyes the folly of orbiting around what has happened and what will happen. It’s the source of life that’s key, and everything flows from there.
And so, I felt a great burden was lifted and a question was answered. I got up and hopped in the shower, beaming from ear to ear, having been restored, brought back from the edge. I turned my face to the shower head and opened my mouth. As the hot water goes in, I feel my body heat up and the iceberg melt, filling me with warm fluid.
DEC 24: COOKIES FOR CHRISTMAS!
NOW: THAT DOESN’T MEAN…
It’s been a good year, and altho I’ve undergone a transformation of sorts, it doesn’t mean I’m walking around with glazed eyes spreading peace love and joy. I still get frustrated at work, I still have road rage, and yes, I am still bloody sick. It’s the fundamental change that’s happened, and it’s made me immediately more calm and content.
So the challenge now is to hone in on this change, to grow upon this fundamental-ism inside me and try to make it more perfect, more whole and more lively. I’ll be spending my 2013 creating the best possible growing conditions for my new garden, and if I do it properly, I have no doubt I’ll see the fruits of labor and the beauty of life sprout from every corner.