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When I Became A Writer: Daddy Issues and Redemptive Poetry

I’ve been blogging sporadically for about 3 or 4 years now. I never really identified as a writer until I started taking this Word Vomit blog more seriously which, is really a recent thing.

In terms of the arts, I’ve always identified more as being a musician because growing up as an Asian-American, music was sort of a pre-requisite to being a good asian. I did really love it when I wasn’t being forced to practice. I actually took up multiple instruments. In High School, I was voted best musician.

But I was never a writer. That’s a relatively new thing. But if I had to pick a point in time when I “started writing”, I would have to say… my 10th grade English class during the poems lesson.

I am not a poet… whatsoever. I could never really write poems. I still can’t. I can appreciate poems here and there but as a whole, I do have a hard time getting into them. But in 10th grade, we had to try and write poems, at least, if we wanted to pass.

I ended up writing this one poem that I called, “Daddy Never Wore My Tie”. Haha, I was such an emo kid. Anyway, that was the one line that repeated itself throughout the piece. I can’t recite that poem anymore but I’ll give you the gist of it.

There’s this Tasmanian devil tie. I think my mom bought it for me to give to my Dad for Christmas. I was a tomboy growing up so I never really liked all the pink things or Disney Princesses but, I loved the Tasmanian Devil and I friggan’ loved this tie. It was black and royal blue. A combination of colors I’ve always loved. It just looked so cool and I wanted so much for my Dad to like it too and wear it with pride to work. He never did.

So the poem sort of detailed the process of me as a child, over a substantial amount of time, passively-aggressively trying to get my father to wear the tie. It detailed how I researched how to tie a tie. How I pre-tied it for him and hung it on the closest hook so that if he were ever running late for work, he could just reach for it and be on his way. It detailed how I tried re-tying it to make it look nicer in case the reason why he still had yet to wear it was because the knot looked a little sloppy. The poem ends of course with, “But Daddy never wore my tie.”

It wasn’t really well-written as far as polished poems, syllable-counting, and stanzas go. I’d like to think that it was my first word-vomit. But, it was real. It was raw. It really moved my teacher when she read it and I remember her pulling me aside after class one day to tell me how much she loved my writing. That’s the moment, I’d have to say, when I found my style. That’s when I learned to write from my real life, my pains, and my experiences.

That tie is still in the closet. It remained tied and ready to go for years until a couple of years ago, I took it down and loosened it. It became creased from all those years of waiting. Looking at it now, you can still see the creases.

Over the years, I’ve learned to accept that my Dad isn’t like the other Dad’s I saw my friend’s have or in the movies/tv shows. I’d like to think that I’m ok with it or that I came out of it alright. But every now and then, I see that tie and feel all too well the deep creases on my heart. But I’m also reminded that the creases are fading little by little over time. And I remember that there’s still a chance. A chance for redemption, forgiveness, and healing.

No one’s perfect. We’ve all got our creases. But if we’re willing to come face-to-face with our demons, if we’re willing to go deeper… they don’t have to define us. Writing helps with that I’ve found. And for that, I’m grateful to be a writer. I’m grateful for redemptive writing.

On My Reading Desk This Week (03/31/13-04/06/13)

So… It’s been two weeks since my last Reading Desk post. Heh… It’s been busy… or my time management has sucked more the past two weeks than the usual… or I’m lazy…. all of the above.

Life has been pretty dull. Work, go home, go to sleep, repeat. However I did get a new cast iron skillet! Because I do that sort of thing now…. anyway, I’ve never cooked with cast iron before. I seasoned it for the first time and today, I cooked an egg on it. It did not stick. That was the highlight of my week. Being a grown-up is stupid.

In other news, I found an awesome coffeehouse playlist. It’s called Your Favorite Coffeehouse. It’s available on Spotify and it was perfect as I ate breakfast, drank tea, and caught up on ALL the reading. Here’s a tip: throw in some Coffeehouse ambient sound. http://coffitivity.com/ Amazing. But really, the playlist is awesome.

Alright, on to the awesome readings I’ve found this week…. and a few from the past two weeks.

What 4 Decades of Marriage Taught a Grateful Husband — Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

This was really sweet and full of nuggets of wisdom. Loved it.

To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me — Suzy Lee Weiss, The Wall Street Journal

It’s the season when high school seniors are receiving their responses from the colleges they’ve applied for. This is written by a high schooler currently in that season and oh my goodness I loved this! Get it girlll! I hear this all too well. Love, love, love this.

Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University — Brandon Ambrosino, The Atlantic

Sometimes, I come across readings online that truly, truly break me. Not only is this true.. someone’s story.. but it is so beautifully written and the sentences just reach out and grip your heart. Grab a few tissues before you start this one. It’s long but it is so worth it.

Alleluia, the Doctor Returns — Julie Clawson, The Huffington Post

Julie is actually one of my favorite writers. We’re Facebook friends 🙂 Great words about Easter, resurrection, and our purpose. Also, my favorite show!

Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life — Shauna Niequist, Relevant Magazine

Yes! Great thoughts on real community and human connection. It also reminds me of the saying, “Don’t compare your everyday life to someone else’s highlight reel.”

Lessons From My Cat — Tea/Tincture

Short and sweet. A good word of reminder.

‘Dry Holi’ Campaign: Is Digital Activism Slacktivism? — Getting Loquacious

I really, really liked this post. Really good thoughts about digital activism. I hadn’t really formed any opinion on the matter so this was really helpful.

The Good, Racist People — Ta-Nehisi Coates, The New York Times

Something to think about. We still have a ways to go.

Thoughts? Comments? What’s on your reading desk?

On My Reading Desk This Week (03/03/13 – 03/09/13)

Happpppy Saturday!!

This week was really busy and tiring. So I didn’t get much reading in as I would’ve liked. But what I DID get to read was wonderful. Here’s a list of some of the great things I came across on my reading desk.

What’s So Great About “The Common Good” — Andy Crouch, This is Our City

Why should Christians embrace this phrase?? Great read on recovering the language of the “common good” in Christianity.

Nerf Wars and Women in the Church — Wayne Beason

Stellar. Just stellar. Liberating and redemptive.

‘The Bible’ Series: An Invitation to ‘Change the World’ — Jim Wallis, The Huffington post

“That’s what we are going to do: change the world. Not just to save a few people from hell and get them to heaven..” Amen. This is what our faith is about! I find too often that believers miss this altogether in their worldview. I should start cataloging all the articles and posts I read that relate to developing this understanding.

On International Women’s Day: Why I Can No Longer Defend The Ministry of Women in The Church — Steve Holmes

Brilliant.

March 3 Homily — Leah Wise: a journal

This. Great writing. “God came first with passion, with fury and movement and an impatient drive to protect his people. And he let one of us in. He gave us the power to do something and the motivation to do it. But, just like the disciples and Jesus’ listening crowds, we got lost again in our own concerns. And we saw suffering and only felt lucky not to be suffering, too. And we repeat the cycle daily.”

peace:militarization — Gukira

Great thoughts on  the militarization of peace and the Kenyan Elections.

 

Thoughts? Comments? What’s on your reading desk?

On My Reading Desk This Week (02/24/13 – 03/02/13)

Happy first Saturday of March!!!!!

It’s starting to warm up where I am. I took a short drive to my favorite coffee and bagel place this morning. Going on a drive on a sunny morning to the sounds of country music makes me so nostalgic for life back in upstate NY. Ahh… good times.

I’m particularly excited for this Reading Desk post. So I do hope you make some room for some interesting reads today, tomorrow, err day.

What Could You Live Without? — Nicholas D. Kristoff, New York Times

Awesome article about a young girl with a big vision. That big vision would be considered completely naive coming from a 14-year old girl suggesting that we have the absolute potential to make a difference if we just tried. And yet, she did exactly that. An amazing story about a family who decides to downsize and how it inspired others to live with less to seek the greater good.

It’s Not About Celibacy: Blaming the Wrong Thing for the Sexual Abuse Crisis — Rev. James Martin, Huffington Post

I think this post had really great points about different manifestations of love, the positives and intentions of celibacy, and singleness.

In Christ There Is Neither… — Scot McKnight, Patheos

Raises some critical questions and points about white normative in the American church. Good stuff.

Leeches, Lye and Spanish Fly — Kate Manning, New York Times

I read this when it was first published way before I started doing these Reading Desks. I’m going to put a little warning on this article. It sheds light onto what women are willing to do to abort their pregnancies in places where abortion is illegal. I’m not posting this to suggest anything on a political level or to make a statement about my own political standpoint on the issue. But this is an article that’s absolutely worth taking into consideration as you think about the issue. Read this.

Modern Lessons From Arranged Marriages — Ji Hyun Lee, New York Times

I think western cultures have attached such a negative stigma on arranged marriages. But look at our divorce rates for all our glorification of marrying for love. This article has given me a lot to think about. I think we could learn a lot and benefit from cultures that practice arranged marriages. I love the idea of your community (maybe not just immediate family but any key persons in your life who knows you well) playing an active part in discerning who would be right for you. I think arranged marriage culture has a better grip on love as a verb/choice than we do in the west.

Why I Left World Vision For Finance — Mark Sheerin, Christianity Today

This was so good. So, so, good. That’s all I can really say at the moment.

The Dirty Job of Special Needs Parenting — Barbara Dittrich, Godspace – Christine Sine

“I will confess that this is rarely the way I want to worship God.  I want a more comfortable form of praise and adoration that doesn’t require the high cost of heart ache and personal humility.” This is fantastic. She talks specifically on parenting here but such a good read on “washing feet”. I needed this.

Are You Listening? — The Wind Horse Blog

Beautiful post. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” I think learning how to listen well is one of the greatest ways to love people. In a messy broken world full of messy broken people, I don’t think most of us, most of the time, are needing advice or fancy words in response to our pain but someone who can just hear and appreciate the full weight of the suck in our lives. Do we know how to listen?

Thoughts? Responses? What’s on your reading desk?

On My Reading Desk This Week (02/17/13 – 02/23/13)

Goooood Morning Internet! Happy Saturday!!

It’s a rainy one where I am. I think that calls for a cup of good coffee, good music, and good, thoughtful, challenging reads.

Season of Sharing — Ninkasi’s Niece

The writer uses the different sizes and bottling of beer to talk about how they reflect differences in individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Right up my alley as a wannabe beer connoisseur and lover of culture. Great post.

“What You Call Yourself When No One’s Listening” — The Green Study

Excellent post! “Kids must learn that failure and mistakes are not what defines a person, but how they react to those errors does. It’s a skill that impacts our entire lives.”

“I’m Spiritual, Not Religious” — Eric Hyde’s Blog

“It is perhaps one of the emptiest phrases ever developed in the English language.” Good reflections about this relatively new cultural phenomena.

Equal Opportunity, Our National Myth — Joseph E. Stiglitz, The New York Times

America might have been the land of opportunity once upon a time. In this article, Stiglitz claims that it has become a myth. Discrimination and lack of education, among other factors, are barriers to social mobility. What does he propose we should do?

Finding Jesus, in Drag — Jay Bakker, The Huffington Post

Finding grace in unlikely places. Following Jesus to the unlikely places He used to go.

How The Resurrection Changes Everything — Chris Johnson, Relevant Magazine

Critical piece for Christians. Do you have a full theological understanding of the resurrection? A must read.

Eyes Through The Glass — A Blog About Asperger’s

A post about the aftermath of Sandy Hook for the mentally ill. In light of the mass shootings in our country, are we defaulting to mental illness as the culprit in ways that are leading to the mass dehumanization of the mentally ill?

Which article was most interesting to you? Why? Agree? Disagree? What’s on your reading desk?

On My Reading Desk This Week (02/10/13 – 02/16/13)

Happy Saturday Everyone!

This week was chock full of good reading. But these are my top picks for the week. I post some of the other great pieces I find but know I probably won’t add to this post on my Facebook. So… You should add me on Facebook if you wish to receive those links 😀

I do hope you take some time to read. Even if it’s not from my Reading Desk. I can’t stress enough the importance of reading. I can’t stress enough allowing those reads to sink deep into your soul. Let them challenge your mind, challenge your worldview, And challenge the laziness of our thoughts.

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” -Confucius

A Life Defined Not By Disability, But Love – NPR

Absolutely touching. A love between Mother and Daughter that challenges the statistics. Love is more powerful than your circumstance.

Why Virginity is not the Gospel – Carolyn Custis James, Huffington Post

This article is redemptive. In a world where 1 in 4 women have been sexually abused before the age of 18, what message of worth is American Christian understanding of “purity” sending our daughters?

Calling All Christians – Skye Jethani

A bit long but so good. ‎”It is not the pastor’s task to wrestle more people away from “secular” engagements in order to help him accomplish his “sacred” work, but to erase these categories in the lives of those he leads in order that Christ might come to reign over all parts of their lives and world.” Read this.

Egyptian women: “It’s time for our voices to be heard”  – Egyptian Streets

Haunting. This post had me wrecked. I have to say: Viewer discretion advised. But if you’re up to it, it’s not long at all and this is the reality we can turn a blind eye to. I hope it breaks your heart for our sisters around the world and moves us all to prayer and action for women’s rights around the world.

Why I Write – Harper Faulkner

Great piece. I feel this big time. Sometimes, especially with the articles I post in these Reading Desk issues, I read stuff that is so wonderfully written that I start to wonder why I even try to say things. Nevertheless, they inspire me to write.

The Street Kids of San Francisco – Alex Mayyasi, Priceonomics

Seriously interesting and informative piece on the life of Street Kids (Homeless) of San Francisco. It’s a great word to our consumer/materialistic driven culture. Just a realy interesting read. Highly recommend.

More Than You Can Handle – Addie Zierman

I cannot recommend this post enough. I’ve read it and reread it so many times this week. This is good writing. The kind of writing that really gets to the heart of human existence, pain, and suffering. Writing that offers no conclusive answer we so desperately want in life yet gives you a peace and connection to the rest of humanity just trying to figure it all out. Just beautiful.

In Defense of the 4-Letter Word – Addie Zierman

So Addie is my new favorite person. This is a great piece on basically… being real. Christians are so legalistic about language. I always found it so fake growing up and Addie hits it on the head of the nail.

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I’d also love to hear your responses, thoughts, and feedback on any of the links posted in the comment section! And feel free to comment if you have a reading recommendations for me! Ready…… GO!

On My Reading Desk (02/03/13 – 02/09/13)

Happy Saturday everyone!! Here are my top picks for good reads this week in no particular order. Hope you are all making it through Nemo okay. If you’re snowed in, hope this offers some food for thought or at least something interesting to pass the time.

Why Did Men Stop Wearing Heels — William Kremer, BBC News

The meaning of heels throughout history.

The Price of a Stolen Childhood — Emily Bazelon, New York Times

A gripping article telling the story of 2 women who were raped as children for child pornography. How those horrors still affect them as adults even though the abuse has ended and how can restitution play a part in putting their lives back together.

Former sex trafficking victim shines light on dark underworld of Super Bowl — Naomi Martin, Nola.com

For majority of Americans, the Superbowl is a beloved national holiday. But not too many know of the darkness that has come to be part of this beloved day of American tradition. Former sex trafficking victim tells her story and sheds light onto human trafficking on American soil.

Delhi gang-rape introspection: India fails to check rampant sexual abuse of children — Emirates 24/7

An update on the Delhi gang rape case, the status of India’s rape laws, and the pending trial. She may have died but her death is sparking an awakening in India. Here’s the story so far.

Michelle Rhee: My Break With the Democrats –Michelle Rhee, The Daily Beast

Some really great thoughts on education reform by Michelle Rhee. I first heard of her from the documentary. Waiting for Superman.

The Absurd Legalism of Gender Roles — Rachel Held Evans

Some really great writing from start to finish. Exposes American social and gender constructs and holds them up to what is really biblical. It saddens me that not a lot of people will be able to accept parts of this post because they can’t differentiate what roles and stereotypes are products of tradition and culture. I’m not sure if that’s because of pride, ignorance, or stubbornness or just lack of adequate experience in the social sciences. I don’t always agree 100% with Rachel but this was one of the best things I’ve read recently. I applaud her.

Why Do Christians Say Dumb Things? — Neil Samudre, Relevant Magazine

Wonderful piece on the difference between speaking truth with love and just plain slander.

Friendship in an Age of Economics — Todd May, New York Times

I cannot recommend this one enough. Pieces like this make me wish I had majored in journalism or something. Great piece on what is friendship. Such good thoughts.

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