2012, My Year in Renew

26 Dec

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

Heart + Talent

JAKE: Heart + Talent

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.

Cranky! Except today, when he liked me. Maybe he thought I was his mom? But no, this is not my baby.

Baby Ethan: Hello Cranky! Except today, when he suddenly liked me. Maybe he thought I was his mom? But no, this is not my baby.

She is going to be an athlete for sure. Oh, and this is not my baby.

Baby Lulu: She is definitely going to be an athlete and I’d totally be her trainer. But she sure ain’t my baby!

aka Mashed Potatoes. Sophie is my favorite, sooo adorable. Also not my baby.

Baby Sophie: aka Mashed Potatoes. Sophie is my favorite, a perfect ball of baby dough, and so calm. She, also not my baby.

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.

It's Not a Dream, It's Your Wedding!

It’s Not a Dream, It’s Your Wedding!

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!

Cute, innocent bunnies...

Cute, innocent bunnies…

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.)

Back in the day: Father's High School Graduation

Back in the day: Father’s High School Graduation

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.

Foolin with Parvesh Cheena, Comic Genius

Foolin with Parvesh Cheena, Comic Genius

We're not worthy! T and I pose with Madame Chin

We’re not worthy! T and I pose with Madame Chin

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.

Card from a friend displays uncanny similarities to my condition

This bunny displays uncanny similarities to my condition

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!

I learn how to bbq AND I make these cookies. Hey, they don't have to be pretty to be yummy.

I learn how to bbq AND I make these cookies. Hey, they don’t have to be pretty to be yummy.

Hey guys, whatcha doin in there? You making some chicken and potatoes? Ooh, that smells nice. I'll take some chicken and potatoes. Helloooo. Guyssss. ... Sigh, no one ever listens to me.

Hey guys, whatcha doin in there? You making some chicken and potatoes? Ooh, that smells nice. I’ll take some chicken and potatoes. Helloooo. Guyssss. … Sigh, no one ever listens to me.

Portrait of My Sister, with German Shepherd

Portrait of My Sister, with German Shepherd

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.

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2 Responses to “2012, My Year in Renew”

  1. Roger Garcia December 26, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Hope you get well soon. There’s a good Chinese herbalist on Geary (near Kaiser) and worth trying.

  2. theUrv December 26, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Crazy year it seems and glad to have seen a couple of those moments – good luck on NGC and hope 2013 is amazing! Also feel better!!!

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