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Calling Me

Partially inspired by my favorite book — Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and the 1939 movie adaptation starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon.

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You came on winter’s day — the coldest of nights,

You fell into my arms and I ran into yours,

Calling, calling, calling,

Til morning end,


I walked into the night — hands by my side,

An echo into the forest and rustling but fright,

Lost in the mountains and wandering the trail,

Time stood still til the call of night,


Jump into the waters and the currents seas,

Fall into the deep — tethered to me,

Reach out for land but hold back for saving,

We’re wandering together till the birds come calling,


Heavens gate for those I missed and all I wish,

You came and you’ve gone and I haven’t slept,

Haunted by the ghost of a person never was,

You were loved, you were missed — every man’s torment,


Don’t call it an end to love once was,

Passion for the fire and the moon above,

I loved a ghost and torrents cove,

Alone again — but never was,


Shadows part in the darkest days,

A winter thunderstorm brews of howling winds,

Call her Cathy to my Heathcliff,

Shall we run across the grange?


No yes my lord, no yes my queen,

Taken by temptation and the life afar,

Consumed by lavish gifts and the upper class,

She loved just one — yet not tales end


Come with me and you’ll see,

How wrong you were, how wrong you be,

Falling into the arms of another man,

Victim to temptation and the life no need


 

 

 

 

 

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Self-Reflection: Et al

Thanksgiving is this week. I’m excited. Good food, good company, and a room full of family is always nice. I’m thankful all my friends and family who have my best interests in mind and are there to support me at my highest of highs and lowest of lows. Every winter, I tend to self-reflect and think back to how I made it to this point of my life.

2015

I’ll always remember 2015 as the year I had to buckle down and make my own plans. I think everyone who graduates has not the slightest idea what to do afterward — lost even. You’re not picking from a list of classes and your diploma might look nice, but it’s still just a very expensive piece of paper with your name on it. My habits from partying carried with me and I honestly did not see it as a problem. I had no car to get around, but with the forceful assistance of my dad, we bought a brand new Toyota from the dealership. Looking back, this was a very stupid idea made only less appealing with my father in the picture.

I managed to get a job just five minutes from home — which only made owning this car kind of pointless. I was already $15K in debt in student loans and another $15K for the cost of the car — not exactly the best feeling when you’re trying to sleep at night. Not counting the few grand I had in credit cards and my serious dependency on drugs and alcohol, I felt like I was in hell with no way out. Thankfully, I just sucked it up and went about working with the full intention of digging myself out of debt and fast. My student loan forbiddance was going to run up — better to get my shit together now with whatever little money I made.

For my first job right out of college, I worked as a project manager. We made websites for clients and my job was to get all their needs or requests written down and sell them a predetermined layout — quite easy to do looking back. My boss was a creep and all my co-workers told me at one point they felt the same way, but never could speak out about it without fear of losing their job. At one point, I was doing well — too well and everyone noticed. My web dev skills helped immensely and work that would normally be sent our developers in India would be done by myself. I got laid off. It was a Wednesday, but they paid me for the entire week — which made the sudden news a bit less terrible.

I made it only a few weeks before I found another job, but in South Pasadena. It was more or less the same job prior, except I was in charge of everything. My only grip was the people I worked for lacked of direction and had a general “winging” it attitude. I had no idea what I was doing everyday and they seemed to gawk at the fact I asked for a list of to-dos. Fun fact: my boss was the creator of one of my favorite Nickelodeon shows growing up — Chalk Zone. He told me he was the one who named “The Fairy Oddparents” — much to my amazement. He was nice, but his wife wasn’t. I miss you, Bill.

I was here for a few short months before I became fed up with her insistent yelling and bad temper. I put in my notice in the beginning of the week and left on a Friday. I miss being around South Pasadena and being able to explore the neighborhood. Parking was kind of a bitch, but I never ran into anyone who was mean or didn’t have a sincere smile on their face. I sincerely miss this time for that reason.

I was struggling, but looking back, it wasn’t too bad. Not a walk in the park, but a jump into knee deep water.

2016

A few weeks later, I got an interview for a company that sold appliances and it was for customer service. A marketing guy doing customer service sounds bad and believe me — it was. My interviewer knew I had marketing skills, but agreed I would do customer service for the initial 3 months and switch to strictly marketing. Seeing how I was in desperate need of money, I said fuck it and got the job.

I have the upmost respect for people who have to cater to the needs of the angry and irate. There’s a certain level of people-oriented-ness needed. I got good at taking calls, with the occasional lie thrown in to appease people, but could not wait to call it quits. Once I did become the marketing assistant, I got a small pay raise and I reported to a guy named Philip.

Philip was chill — in all sense of the word. He smoked a ton, but so did I and even admitted he tried to recruit me a few months prior but I had ignored him. Oops. I went full circle and my world felt incredibly small this year. I learned much of what I know now about e-commerce from him and if I ever bumped into him in the 626, I’d buy him a drink (or boba) just to say thanks. Marketing and e-commerce is all bullshit and lies — that’s truth.

I moved up quickly, but towards Q4 of this year, we were looking to expand to a newer and much bigger office. We were to move to Rancho Cucamonga of all places — one hour of driving each way. My boss lured me by promising a pay raise if I were to come along. I reluctantly agreed, but he said, “Come with us. I’ll make sure you’re taken care of.” I took his word in full faith.

I knew I was essentially untouchable. I managed multiple accounts and sales rose sharply. I directed videos, wrote scripts, listings and copywriting. Everyone knew or saw — probably because I didn’t keep a low profile or fly under the radar. I like to talk — sue me. I thought this was a job for the long-term but couldn’t be further from the truth. Upon moving to Rancho Cucamonga, I had become fed up with the poorly way everything was run and hostile treatment I was put under. Two hours of driving was not worth it and I could not stand another day with these people.

I had one meeting with my boss and asked what happened to his empty promises. He could not give a straight answer and with that — I left immediately. Fuck all of them. Never before I have ever felt such mistreatment from all of my co-workers or felt so swindled by an employer. I remember this as a hard life lesson and I don’t owe loyalty to anyone who cuts my checks. I’d stick up for myself before I had someone push me around again.

The same year, I had a group of friends — all female, I saw every weekend to go drinking. I didn’t know it then, but they weren’t looking out for me. They were all SB alumni — one even crashed my end of the year rager. I told her to get the fuck out, but proceeded to sidestep me. Figures. Every weekend, I got trashed beyond belief, but it was fun and there was no one to tell me no. Six beers, a few shots, a cigarette or two, and maybe a burrito later, I was fucked up.

This was not my finest hour and am thankful I’m not the same person from several moons ago. I smoked constantly and did a number of things that put my life in jeopardy. I was sad the life I had was gone — as was my group of friends I saw daily. A few poorly timed comments is all it took to realize I needed to drop these people from my life. I don’t miss them the least bit. I did go back to visit everyone a few times, but subsequent visits made me realize I had to let this place go for the better. Everyone I knew moved on and all was left was a town of nobodies and the places I use to frequent.

The year after graduation was a rough. They don’t teach you too much about having a job but hating it in college — and they should. It was around this time that I realized I needed to change, but not the slightest idea how. Drinking is fun — even if it’s binge drinking and the occasional hangover. Smoking feels good, but my lungs felt terrible and the smell is less than pleasant. It’s difficult to change if you surround yourself with others who have the very habits you’re looking to break free from.

2017

For the better part of almost 4 months, I took it easy and lived off the money I had saved. I consider this my cooling off period as I had not once taken a sick day or called off work. By some weird stoke of fate, I got a job by one my previous employer’s competitors. I was instantly hired when they knew who I used to work for.

The commute was only minutes away and I was in charge of the entire e-commerce network. I worked my magic and knew I would be in direct competition with everyone I knew in Rancho. But this made my job more exciting and like a fresh start. Sales jumped as expected but I kept butting heads with my co-worker. He took credit for a few projects I worked on exclusively, which put me off on a bad mood. In all sense of the word, he felt threatened. I was the only college educated person working there.

As time went on, my co-worker became more hostile. My sales numbers didn’t sway his opinion and he insisted I follow his lead when I knew better. One meeting was setup to make it seem I like fucked up on multiple listings — even though up until this point, everything was cleared to go live from my co-worker. Honestly, fuck you Jason. The same day, I said to everyone bluntly, “I don’t like it here. I’ve already found a job. I’m gonna leave right now.” It floored everyone and that was the last I ever those guys. I was relieved, yet oddly satisfied. Everything I did or made I took with me on a flash drive. I didn’t owe them anything.

Closing Thoughts

It’s been interesting since I last walked across stage. Life threw me a curve ball or a few. I’ve met some people I missed and some I loathed or despised. Not every new opportunity was genuine — many are dead ends. I struggled financially, found some way to pay off a car I didn’t want, did well enough to buy another, and found the strength to continue forward. I’ve had many downs and a couple ups, but in the end, with enough determination and will, I became somebody. Stick up for yourself and don’t let life hold you back. You don’t owe anyone anything. Better late than never. My clock is ticking and my God I’m not here to waste another minute feeling sorry for myself.

The future is bright and I like a bright blue sky. Later world. Keep at it.

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To Love & Be Loved

This is my Grandma in the kitchen. I’m always amazed at her love and affection. The kitchen and cooking is all she really knows. She grew up in the countryside in China without any formal education all her life. She loves to cook and is excited I’m here to eat with her. Words cannot express my love and gratitude for her.

Her reality is different. She’s very superstitious, is vocal about her beliefs, and misses everyone. Growing up, I knew she had a lot of joy cooking breakfast for me or the celebratory dinners she single handedly made for Chinese New Year. She wishes we all can come together more often, but everyone lives separate lives with their busy schedules.

She usually listens to no one except me. She repeats herself constantly, but she just likes talking as much as I do. She gets shorter every year and her hair gets grey. I can say I get my skinny body from her. She’s in her 70s and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. She rambles on and on about the good old days — reminiscing about the simpler times when I was just five and her only concern was if I was fed. I’ll never forget that about her and hope I never will.

I missed her then and I miss her now. Sometimes all it takes for someone to come out of their shell is just a visit — one I’ve been needing to do the past few months. To love and be loved is one of the best feelings there is. Knowing she’s around and has been such a fixture in my upbringing makes all the troubles life carries disappear. I’ve stopped to smell the roses. She is my grandma and I love her.

I’m killing it with the new Grandma slippers. Coming soon to a Saks near you.

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Death Comes Knocking

Today, I came home from work to some hard news. My “Grandpa” from my mom’s side of the family passed away…

He was in his 90s, always told me to work hard, make money, and buy a nice car — something every Chinese family says is a measure of success. I knew him all my life since I could remember. He always had the nicest things to say about me regardless of how I was doing — impressed even. I’m a little shocked by the sudden news.

I’ve noticed when you’re a child, your family tends to shield you away from someone’s passing. As you become older, you hear about it more and more — making an impact to your year. I suppose by that reason, I don’t deal with losing family members too well. My mom is sad. I am sad. We’re all a little sad. Death comes knocking.

I’ll never forget the last time I saw him. It was a Saturday. He came over and sat across from me. Asked me what I did for work. I told him marketing and he enthusiastically replied, “Marketing? There’s a a lot of money to be made doing that.” Indeed, there is. He was a good man.

It’s a cruel world we live in. You really don’t miss them until they’re dead and gone.

Throughout life, you go on living missing those you wish you saw once more. It’s a reminder just how short life is and how precious the time we do have is. It grounds you. Gives you urgency. It’s motivation. Nevertheless, a very sad and tragic one at best.

I often wonder who’s next. If I had the ability to see into the future, would I spend more time for them knowing their fate? Would I change anything about myself now to appease them? Would it soften the blow of having to say goodbye? Life is a journey afterall. People come and people go. Sometimes you’re not ready to say goodbye.

Later world.

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Love, Redemption and Regret

img_0096I’m guilty of not making more time to see my beloved Grandma. She’s the only grandma I’ve ever known actually. My Dad’s side of the family is all I’ve ever known or seen all my life. This year especially, I’ve been far too busy with work to pay her a visit and it’s terrible to know she misses me. I give her a call every lunch break to check in on her and she usually asks if I’m intruding — even though I’m the one who called. She’s far too forgiving for how hectic I am this time of the year. She’s alone by herself, which to some — is fine, but I know it isn’t. A women in her mid-70s should not be left alone to housesit — it’s not right.

I love her dearly. She’s been through a lot and truthfully won’t listen to a word from anyone except from me — much to everyone’s dismay. There’s a saying in Chinese along the lines of, “you’re finding money to eat.” It’s used when work overtakes making time for family, because the ends justify the means. Focusing on work means having money and focusing on your career. Family comes second in that regard. I’ve never been too fond of it.

Years ago, my only goal was to impress her and her only wish was I graduate college. So I did. I gave a fuck and somehow managed to be the top of my class and transfer to UC Santa Barbara. Part of me thinks that was all a fluke and I lucked out, but I know that couldn’t be further from the truth. When she came to see me graduate, her eyes teared up, voice crackled, and told me just one sentence, “your grandpa would be proud”. I absolutely lost it and cried in front of her. I redeemed myself — found salvation for all those years of not being anybody. Most of my professors have asked me during office hours if I was a A student before SB and I laughed all the time. The look in their eyes as I explained I was a college dropout, how I was failing every class at community college at one point, and how I was only here to impress my Grandma. It makes for an interesting discussion, but I would not be where I am if it weren’t for her.

Sunday, I’ll have time to pay her a visit. I’ll take her to dim sum and have a date with my Grandma. I know she’s excited. I am too. If there was only two of me.

Later world.

 

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Searchlight for One

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Happiness has been elusive this time of the year — more so than any other year I can recall in recent memory. This maybe due to my constant drinking and smoking in previous years that acted to numb my thoughts — go figure. I made a few lifestyle changes with the recommendations from my friends.

  • no longer eat out most of the week
    • This bums me out immensely. I like eating at restaurants. I haven’t had anything fried, greasy, or Mexican food (my absolute favorite) all week. I feel great and have more energy. I’m saving a ton of money — which is nice.
  • less caffeine
    • I drink a ton of coffee. I usually have one in the morning, several cups of tea in the afternoon, and some days, another coffee when I work late. Yikes, I know.
  • to be by myself
    • My friends and I have this group chat going on for several years now. I don’t think there has been a day where we didn’t text each other if that seems amazing. I care for all of them and wouldn’t hesitate to jump in front of car or take a bullet for anyone, but its time I went offline. I need time for myself and only I can find the light at the end of the tunnel. They don’t have the best habits and can’t possibly know what’s best 100% of the time. It’s just the truth.
  • no outside help a.k.a. cheating
    • I stopped taking my pills and refused to pickup my medication at the local CVS. I did pay for a visit to my doctor; that’s money wasted, but I’ve come to realize I need to quit while I’m ahead. I risk falling into the rabbit hole and another hard set back. My friend (in all his words of wisdom) suggested I pick it up and sell them for profit. Ha. No, motherfucker. This goes back to my previous point, I do need to be alone from everyone. If my motivation to just quit cold turkey and go through withdrawals isn’t a testament to my will, I don’t know what is.
  • worry less about finishing the goal
    • I reached most my goals this year and felt only a momentary happiness. I’m so caught up at reaching the finish line, I forget it’s not about the end, but what I do to reach there. I’ll have to remain mindful and not let my ambition get the better of me. I’ve made a few new goals for next year:
      • pay off my entire student loan by Q1 2019
        • It’s not a lot — if you consider less than $8K “not that much”. I’ll make one large payment and get rid of this gentle reminder of my time at Santa Barbara once and for all. Let go of the past.

As the year winds down and things at my office finally start slowing down, I’m hopeful for the new year to be even better than this one. I’m ready to go up and up. Just try and stop me.

Later world.

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Vice

To all my beloved friends,

I’m sorry for everything and letting it come to this. I need time alone away from you all.

“I’d walk away from it all before I let it get any further.”

With love,

– Danny

Give a few bottles of wine

A 40 oz or two

Hand me a coffin nail

A pack will do

Toss me a bar

Not a hammer for my chains

There’s terror in my eyes

And sadness in theirs

Coldness falls

Somber nights in winter ides

Your hands tremble but mines the same

This is it for you and I

Live in reality and dream for an escape

Falling in the rabbit hole and tumbling

There is not a word to describe my pain

Look from afar and chase while you run

I’m not looking for the exit

The nightmares just begun

Winter nights of coldest days

Where oh where is the light

The windows close and the door is shut

I’m traveling for one til the end of time

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Many Wishes

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Of the times we’ve met

I wish I saw you more

Not once, not twice,

evermore

Your aura is present

and I’m locked in your spell

My thoughts dwell on past-present,

You and I, me and you,

yet you’re all that remains,

—-

Save me from myself

and hold on tight

The seas are rising

and I’m already on the tide

Lets ride the wave

—-

I’m entranced by your beauty

Those golden locks

That infectious smile

and your softest voice

—-

I missed you then

I missed you now

I’m alone — again

and I hope not another night

—-

Darling where are thou?

You came and you’ve gone

but I’m not ready to let you go,

—-

Come with me in my dreams

Together finally

and not a day to end

Tell me you love me and I’ll do the same

—-

Like a pianist concert

Playing for you til the end

You’re music to my ears

Joy for my soul

We’ll share laughs

A tear or two

And many hugs — I’m sure

Let me hold you first

Let me in and hold no walls

I’m ready for us, and now

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All Illusions

You’ve all but disappeared.

And I feel disappointed.

A feel of unrest.

And a pawn in your game.

You stopped existing.

And you’re never coming back.

Was it not the real you?

Now you’re a shell of a person.

A ghost that never leaves.

I only know it know.

And I didn’t see it then.

But say it ain’t so.

It’s like a dream.

A grand illusion of sorts.

Call it a beautiful lie.

Or deception if you will.

Something’s are too good to be true.

Yet I’m too naive to see it.

That was never you.

Couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s only know I realize it.

People are as they always were.

You were whatever you wanted me to be.

Later world.

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Reality Check

The sky was a dark shade of grey and the sun the most unusual orange glow. It’s quite the spectacle. I needed this. I’m feeling so much better compared to yesterday. I’m thankful I have such great friends to help me snap out of it. We established a new rule today: tell me no.

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Although unrelated to my previous thoughts from yesterday, I call this post “Reality Check”.

I think our existence in this world is the one thought all of man refuses to contemplate. It’s a terrifying thought to wonder why we exist at all. What purpose we have here in the short time we are alive? Is there some special reason we are alive in this world on this time of this day of this year? How we are born is the stuff of miracles. We are all winners in that sense. We get to enjoy the natural beauty all around us. There’s no better time to be alive than right now. I fear not living. I fear not living up to my potential. The need for now and not later. Say everything that needs be said and regret not having the chance later on. This is inevitable the longer you hold back.

Not many can accept that fact that in life, the ones you care about and hold true to your heart will be the first to go. It’s an unapologetic and tragic chapter of existence. We regret not making time for the ones we wanted to be with when they are alive — death is always certain and only a matter when. How you handle such unspeakable pain in seeing them go is up for debate. Grieving is needed. Tears are necessary. Pain is a part of life. Without it, we can never really appreciate anything or anyone. Joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain.

Heartbreak has a special chapter in everyone. If you’re lucky to meet just one woman and find her to be the one, consider yourself lucky. Most first loves are just that — a test for what’s really to come later on. It’s the feelings romance novels, poetry, and movies are made from. True, real, and raw first love is overwhelming, and overpowering. It consumes you. Makes you have butterflies in your stomach, and overtakes your thoughts. Yet, first love or teenage love never lasts. You two are too young, naive, and foolish — not yet ready for the road that lies ahead. The path to commitment and the road to adulthood is best served alone. Only you can find yourself. She does not make the man. The man find his own path in the field of uncertainty and darkness. Never say you are incomplete without her. A woman merely complements the man — never making him whole. Don’t be so foolish.

I often wish I was the man I am now, but back then. She would of loved the new me — a more refined and polished persona. You can say it’s what she was really looking for, but you had yet to reach that point. No one can fast forward life nor slow it down. There is no playback button or rewind — no matter how desperately we wish we did. To have the ability to time travel forwards and back is just that — day dreaming.

To all the men in the world who have unrequited love — let go. If you gave it a chance and an attempt at having a place in her heart and she does not reciprocate — at least you know she’s not interested. Had you not given it a go, you may live forever in regret. Men call it the one that got away — such experiences are only shared when intoxicated and inebriated among your closest of brothers. I love the chase — perhaps more so than the actual time spent together or relationship we dream of. Effort is needed. Planning is required. How you execute makes a lasting impression on her. If she feels the same and a relationship fosters, then what a catch.

Stay weary of the road ahead of you. She may never be 100% what you want — I find that improbable. No one is perfect because we all grow old and change over time. I’m not that same person from one year ago. How can she be any different? Two people in love must accept the fact changes in personality, character, charm, etc are certain. If you can accept this fact then you risk not being disappointed or falling out of love.

Add as many chapters to your life to find personal fulfillment. Every person is a book waiting to be opened, read, and critiqued. If yours seems short, get up and do something about it. Modern living is all too often sedentary and lacking in motivation. We are glued to our phones all day and worry too much about our online image when actual reality is what matters.

Find what makes you happy. Search your feelings. Everyone knows what makes them unhappy, then find a way to undo that. Relationship building is essential and I consider it an absolute necessity for personal happiness. Not everyone you know brings welcoming feelings — they’re best dropped and not worth your time. I rather have a few real friends than hundreds of fake ones. I think everyone can agree. The few you can depend on at any time far out weigh being popular.

Later world.