tokyo drift

rhythmically moving 

so current i’m fluid 

can’t stand in my wave 

can’t stand in my way  

so intergalactic 

i’ll never decay 

those who don’t know me

gon wish i would stay 

i might dip to LA 

so throw me a parade 

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murakami

I cried on the plane ride. It was brief but it happened. I was returning to Atlanta, GA, a place that I hadn’t been in almost 2 years. This is a place that I hoped I never had to return to against my own will and only for a visit, never extended. On July 26, 2013, I boarded a Delta Airlines plane and flew first class halfway across the world to Asia with a little more than $2000USD and my only expectation being change & growth. My “home” never felt like home and I had been eager to leave since before I got my drivers license. I never had the desire to explore my own hometown on my own merit, but I always had the desire to explore places that would expand my worldview in a way that Atlanta and America couldn’t. I always knew that I wanted more than where I was at. I always knew that I wouldn’t become the best me if I didn’t leave my comfort zone that was never really comfortable. The journey out of America had many prerequisites, but now I’ll focus on the present and future. 

It’s been a little over a week since I’ve been back in my hometown and it’s been nearly 4 months since I’ve returned to America. I first landed in LA and was unsure of whether or not I should continue with a travelers mindset & just lightly pass through or try to embrace LA as a temporary home, as I did Bangkok. Life allowed me to fall somewhere in between the two lifestyles and I grew to love the city in a way I didn’t expect to. It was bittersweet to leave. Nonetheless, I understand my own humanly limitations enough to embrace the unknown to make the best out of situations. I do this as a way to combat any negative viewpoints that can arise from passing judgement. I’m learning to get better at this. Something I’ve learned during this journey, especially while dealing with all of those aforementioned prerequisites. 
Now, I’m laying on my bedroom floor in my grandmother’s house with postcards to send to friends in different time zones around the world to my left and my latest read to my right — Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”. A well timed and appropriate recommendation from a new friend I’ve made along my journey. This memoir is relevant in so many ways and has given me even more clarity on everything, essentially the reason why I choose — yes, choose — to live.
 
Murakami is a devoted runner. For some, he might seem to be an extremist in his habits. He’ll operate like a machine and push his mind to a subconscious state to achieve his own personal ideals. It’s more than fitness. It’s more than a competitive edge. He admits that there are times when he doesn’t want to run. There have been marathons that he hasn’t enjoyed. There have been times when he’s felt defeated. Yet, he always reminds himself as to why he chooses to run. He wants to be the best him and through that mindset, he genuinely appreciates every bit of what he experiences, specifically as a runner. 
I started reading this novel on Saturday. I’ve been running everyday since I began. Yes, fitness is important to me but I metaphorically equate Murakami’s passion for running to my life. I ran across the world to a foreign country to push myself to achieve more. Many people didn’t get it. I am like Murakami, I suppose. An extremist. I ran, somewhat hoping the run to become easier. How foolish. Life is a marathon. Cliche but true. Also, blantantly stated, shit gets real — often. That doesn’t mean that I don’t and didn’t enjoy the run. Sometimes the run feels like a hike, a jog, a climb, or a stroll. We run, or in other words, we live because we want to be the best we can be. We go on this journey to find another journey to stumble upon another to seek another to join another continuously. It might become easier for a while but there’s always more to push through. There will be moments where we feel defeated. I felt defeated by LA when the world peeled me away from such an appealing city only to make me return to the same plot I left with a zealous farewell. 
I realize now, there is no farewell. There is no end until we die. Things resurface, attempt to haunt us, distract us, steal our joy, and all we can do is live to be the best we can no matter our circumstances. We give it our all and fight being a victim. 
——————————————————–
This is what I talk about when I talk about living. 

mercury rising

all these fucking palm trees
you don’t belong here
cacti are more appropriate
it hurts but I love you anyway
you just want to bask in the sun
you get sick when it rains
can’t come out for days
it’s a blizzard somewhere
you’re spoiled
it’s hard to appreciate beauty
when it doesn’t feel real
make love while you can
bottle caps
night caps
texting in caps
domesticated cabs
dating apps
google maps
nothing here is within reach
especially not
the tops of these fake palm trees
show me how much you love me
before I
leave.

vomit

why are so many people so obnoxiously socially awkward? it’s quite comical. I’m on the train, trying to get lost in some new reads that a new friend got me as an early birthday gift, while this guy conducts himself like a hoodrat, vomiting nonsensical tunes out of his mouth in hellacious harmonies. good morning to you too, Los Angeles.

I just finished getting a haircut. oh, but not just an ordinary haircut. this one was done on a Sunday at 9am, for $20 by a Mexican migrant, with a strong dislike for his hometown. I woke up this morning at my friend’s house whose company I enjoy, as well as his taste in literature as I hope to learn more once this dude shuts the fuck up. anyway, I’ve only been awake for 2 hours and it’s already been an eventful day.

I’m thankful for that. although things might not ever be ideal, as I’m ambitious as hell, with high expectations for myself because I know that I’m capable of so much more and determined to learn my own strengths; despite that, I can say that my life is an adventure. my 44 days in California have been an adventure. I’m staying on my cousins couch in Inglewood with less than $500 to my name, working 2 part-time jobs with mediocre wages, questioning my safety on public transportation, meeting weirdos and unicorns, and trying to figure out all the detailed steps it takes to get what I desire in life.

hope I’m not being redundant. this topic is pop. hella pop. it gets stuck in my head and I find myself replaying it over and over again. sometimes I don’t even want to listen to it, but somehow it’s universal. it’s one of those things that connects us all as people — no matter your income, your race, your ethnicity, your social status. we all stop for a second to analyze what more we want out of life.

so I’ve learned to appreciate the simple things, the struggles, the weirdos, the unicorns, the shitty jobs, the shitty pay, the awkward times, the obnoxious fuckers on the train, and all the other in between that occupy my time while I’m living and somehow being distracted from my desires, while working towards satisfying them. appreciate them because they are essentially a part of you. it’s a part of your life experience. we move on from these situations and drift on to new ones and possibly have the same analysis and desire to want more or push yourself further. I just advise to never overlook or take anything for granted.

there’s no guarantee that these unicorns, weirdos, challenges, shortcomings, and such will grace your presence again in the same face they presented themselves. why not try to smile in the face of it while you can and use it all as an opportunity for personal growth and reflection.

I’m just trying to make the best out of it, and I’m thankful that my stop is next, so the passenger with the vocal vomit can stay right on the train, possibly never to be heard again.

living in the moment, yet, also looking forward to the future

=

Los Angeles is extremely unique, I’m supposing. I haven’t travelled to many U.S. cities as an adult but through referencing my experiences in Atlanta and New York, L.A. is a completely different beast. Yet, it’s just like every other place I’ve visited through a plethora of contradicts and paradoxes. Its integrated but yet segregated, progressive but blind, vast and divided, inspiring but depressing, healthy and also, very ill.

Right now, I’m staying with a few cousins in Inglewood. They’ve been super hospitable, fun, and understanding — so grateful for that. Down the street from their house is a diner that served me a bomb ass egg croissant sandwich for $3.50, which reminded my pallet what breakfast food tastes like without lime juice and chilies. The owner is a Cambodian man, who hasn’t seen his hometown since the 80s. He fled after the genocide during the 70s, which the country still hasn’t recovered from. Of course, he’s adapted to his new home. He speaks Spanish fluently. His diner was filled with Hispanic workers playing cards and talking shit. It felt great to show him recent photos I’ve taken of his hometown. It felt great to connect with a migrant who had experienced my native land more recently than I had and vice versa. I drop by sometimes on my walk to the train station. Its a nice walk. The train is pretty reliable and accessible. I’ve seen some wild shit on these trains though — especially the blue line. Kids openly begging for money to get high and getting a positive response, people doing bumps of cocaine, theft, belligerence, people smoking bowls. So, of course, there are some neighborhoods where the train has no route. These are the neighborhoods where the Bruce Willis grabs a smoothie, where tourists are far from plenty, and a ton of restaurants selling tasteless food that’s overpriced. Every now and then, the homeless has roamed their way into these communities, only to be bussed back downtown — the international home for the homeless. These dynamics are interesting to think about but far from surprising. Politics are hardly ever surprising.

Before I arrived, I thought that it was insanely wonderful that my drug of choice could be legally consumed in California — especially since this enjoyment almost landed me in legal trouble in Thailand. Martial law is no joke. Needless to say, I was stoked to get here and smoke weed without the paranoia but that shit is sooooo overrated. I’m being completely honest when I say that I’m not even that glad that it’s been medicinally legalized. For one, the weed sold in dispensaries that’s manufactured by Uncle Sam is fucking scary. That bad boy is way too potent and meant to basically paralyze you. I’d rather not. Also, now that it’s legal theres a culture that’s been created. Uncivil behavior has been normalized. There’s a fine line between social & personal responsibility and I think that the legalization of targets a group of people. It’s a sensitive topic but it’s almost like the crack epidemic in a way. I guess it’s just survival of the fittest though. I’ll just find the weed that was bred in the dirt and not a lab to get my feels.

As I get older and learn myself and gain more understanding about the nature of things, I settle on the idea that these paradoxes and contradicts give our world equilibrium. Although, everything seems to happen in extremes nowadays, it seems to be balanced. As negative energy might seem to be on the rise, positive energy is just a powerful to even out the paradigm shift. I don’t believe in this picturesque utopia of a world without hatred, destruction, corruption, and disease. I just have faith that no matter how sick, twisted, and fucked up this life may appear to be, there’s another energy out there fighting to combat the evils and ills. That’s basic science. Karma is a clever bitch. We work well together.