Eating ice cream cake does not help you feel better

12 10 2013

At least it didn’t for me yesterday, when I was surrounded by my loud, rambunctious family and felt alienated from them all. It dawned on me that even though I was related to all these people, I didn’t really know them. I vaguely know what they do, but the rest of their lives — I don’t have a clue. I’ve never been close to any of them, opened up to any of them (nor have they ever opened up to me). They may as well have been familiar strangers to me. That’s what family essentially is, right? Familiar strangers.

Sisterly obligation to be mean

18 06 2013

Once, when I was young and upset at my sister for being mean to me yet again, in a fit of frustration, I bluntly asked her, “Why are you so mean to me?”

She answered, “Because I’m your sister.”

As if it were a rule or a law that sisters must be mean to their brothers, or as if she was under contract that declared under one of the major headings that she had to treat her male sibling not like he was a family member, but like the loner kid in elementary school who was too easy to make fun of. Or as if her blood tie to me rendered her mind and her body incapable of being kind or supportive.

As if she couldn’t control herself when she laughed at me or put me down.

What do you say to your homophobic dad?

2 05 2013

For example, how would you respond to an email that says (in part) this:

There is a big difference  in a relationship  between the gay  and the traditional,it’s what comes after( children ) ,it’s human nature even wild animals , to look after their young,( to provide food and shelter/ all the necessities etc ,)  With the children in tow, they have to realize  to have to work to set up and run as a family , no more fooling around.
It’s obvious the gay relationship will not end up with  this kind of headache , so it’s party time every day,and it’s easy to find target of interest when you are young and full of energy/desire ,relationships don’t last , the possibility of contacting serious diseases prevail . It’s no wonder  gay men would general die young before their time.

I believe my dad isn’t aware of how his beliefs are actually hurtful and offensive to others (ie. me), so I patiently explained how his words weren’t very nice, and how his outdated, stereotypical beliefs were wrong.

My dad was responding to a personal essay I wrote about what it means to win people back after a relationship. I included some anecdotes in the essay about my father’s experiences trying to win my mom back, as well as my own. He had this to say about my piece:

You don’t need me to tell you that this essay can only be found in the gay magazine and newspaper

Well, I didn’t need him to tell me because, quite frankly, it’s not true. I know it isn’t. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I have a better picture of the publishing industry than he does. Also, and more importantly, most people, especially in Vancouver, are a lot more open to diversity than him.

How would you respond if you got this email?

Best way to come out to your family

20 01 2013

As the guy I`m seeing said when I showed him this video, “I fucking love this!!! What`s his number?”

Boyfriend dream

7 09 2012

Woke up and wrote this all down before I forgot because I think it’s a little special.

Boyfriend dream

I was in a relationship with my dashing friend Owen.  We also were on tour with the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, on their tour bus as they drove across the country (which they don’t do, of course).  At one stop, the QFF set up some promotional stuff in this town, including Owen’s contribution: a bright pink, glittering diorama featuring him and another girl on stage.  There was also some writing with the diorama explaining how super gay he was.

Owen’s mother was there, and he had not come out to his family yet.  I found her staring at her son’s very loud diorama, and went over to her.  I asked her about his singing and his songs.  She kept asking me, “When?” which confused me, and when I tried to clarify, she only repeated the same question: “When?”  I told her I hadn’t heard any of songs Owen had been writing, but that he had told me he was writing some songs last summer.

I walked off so she could absorb the news of son’s strange coming out.  There were also two other younger kids there with her, presumably her other children.

I texted Owen to “come here” since his family was there.  He didn’t respond.  Instead, the next thing I knew, he was standing with his family and talking with his dad.  It appeared they were arguing.  I stood a little way off, watching, knowing this wasn’t my place.  Both of us, and possibly everyone there, was dressed in black.  I was dressed in my uniform from Fifth Avenue.

Owen came over and said I should properly meet them.  He took my hand and confidently walks over to his family.  I, on the other hand, am a nervous wreck.  I look up at him, and his face is hard and determined, and I feel bad.  I ask him if it’s really appropriate/too much that we’re holding hands especially since his dad just got the news and isn’t okay with it, and we let our hands fall.

Owen introduced me to his father, who glared at me.  I knew he though I “corrupted” his son.  My lip trembled from being so nervous.  His dad said I was just a “sex hookup” and left.  I yelled back as he was leaving that Owen and I hadn’t even had sex yet, and that we were still together because loved each other.  I said goodbye to his family, and called his mother Alice (because we were totally bffs).  I told Owen his mom was much nicer/understand than his dad, while Owen struggles to genuflect awkwardly and for seemingly no reason at all.

That’s it.  I don’t actually know if Owen’s mom’s name is Alice but it would be freaky if it were.  I texted him today and told him I had a dream with him in it but he didn’t respond.  I’ll ask him about his mom later.

By the way, Owen has a girlfriend.  Or so he says.

Grown Up Movie Star

12 09 2011

One of the films I missed at the Queer Film Festival that I wanted to see.

Synopsis:  after the mother of a family leaves, a closeted ex-NHL player father adapts to life in Newfoundland with his two young daughters, one of whom is exploring her sexuality.

Super awesome things: gotta love Canadiana.  The movie is set and made in Newfoundland, and the overall landscape, music, and tone feels genuinely Canadian.  It’s a good feeling.  There’s a ton of conflict in the film, and that is already an understatement.  Ex-NHL hockey player Ray is in the closet, and his torment is played out fairly well, hiding his love interest (the coach/PE teacher at the local high school) from everyone, and even going as far as to not talk to him on the phone.  Tatiana Maslany, who plays Ruby, Ray’s older daughter, and her journey through sexual awakening is also similarly heartfelt and interesting to see where things went.  She embodies teenage angst (perhaps a bit too much?) and Maslany does a great job at portraying a callous and rebellious yet sympathetic character well.

Not so super awesome things: I think most people would agree that Grown Up Movie Star is depressing.  It’s not necessarily the subject matter that is depressing, but that most if not all the characters in the film are angry or miserable most of the time to the point where Newfoundland itself seems bleak and dreary.  Ray is angry at his wife, his children, and his own inability to communicate and relate to them (actor Shawn Doyle shows so much awkwardness when it comes to handling the kids that it works very well); Ruby, is angry at her father for being a hypocrite and the fact that he just doesn’t “get” her.  These two take the dysfunctional family to a whole other level.

As well, the pacing really is a rollercoaster ride; one minute everyone’s yelling and the next, the family is driving along happily on the road.  But these happy moments are quick and fleeting, and when they do happen, it feels odd, as though there must be some sort of sparring match coming because this family shouldn’t be happy.

Lastly, and there will be some spoilers for this, when Ruby begins heading over to her dad’s friend Stuart’s place where he takes pictures of Ruby posing– with clothes on, but still suggestive– you know it’s going to end badly.  And yet, when Stuart finally does take advantage of the teenage Ruby, one can’t help but feel it’s partly her fault as well.  Perhaps it was this past English class and Angela Carter’s view that some women ask for bad things to happen to them, that they are only victims when they choose to victimize themselves.  Ruby probably doesn’t want things to go the way they do with her ‘fake Uncle Stu” but at the same time, she was the one who kept coming over to his place, who wore the sexy clothing he kept for his models, and who kept flirting with him for such a long time that it really wasn’t a big shock when he put finally put the moves on her and she was uncomfortable.  Sure, she’s only a teenager and might not know any better, but that’s not a good enough excuse for me, and in some ways, she was asking for it and I found myself with a lack of sympathy for her.

This is unrelated to the paragraph above, but foreskin tearing?  How do you not feel that?!

Good for watching: when you think you’ve got a f-ed up life and want to know/see that it could be worse.

Overall: despite the bleakness of the film, Grown Up Movie Star presents the overdone subject of family in a different way– albeit with mixed results.

Grade: B-


30 01 2011

I think I should just start numbering all the dream entries I post instead of trying to label them as “Another Dream” or “Old dream”.  Stuff in square brackets is my commentary.


July 10?, 2004

In a store and Maggie Simpson is there.  Bart and Lisa are there too.  We’re trying to pick out a nice toy that Maggie will like.  Finally, I find a LIsa doll and Maggie loves it.  She’s hugging it and she’s happy.

In Superstore with Maggie [my sister, I’m assuming, not Simpson] and Florrie.  We’re looking at all this crap and we want to get out.  So we do and then we come back inside but we can’t find anyone (my aunts and cousins).  So we go in this room filled with popcorn and after we swim through it, we find them.  Jeffrey [one of my cousins] is being stupid and is in a stroller [which is fitting since he’s such a friggin’ baby].

Family Event

21 01 2011

An assignment for non-fiction class about a family dinner.

Family Event

I am told to write about an event of some sort about my family but nothing comes to mind.  I also don’t remember much of my childhood, and have even less memories involving my family; simple things like dinners at home are a blank to me, though I can speculate what may have happened.  Not knowing what else to do, I ask my older sister, Florence.

We’re supposed to be killing computer-generated people and warriors in an Age of Empires game online but instead, I stall and ask her some questions about our family before she hits the start button in the chatroom.

“Do you remember having dinner together as a family when we were younger?” I ask.

“Yes.  I made dinners” is her reply.  Florence is nine years older than me and my twin sister, Maggie.  I don’t remember her making dinner.  I can imagine it and it seems like it could be real but I don’t have any actual memories of it.

“Father didn’t cook and mommy worked often,” she continues.  This also makes sense.  It’s not that my dad couldn’t cook because I remember him teaching me how to cook vegetables one time, so I’m left to wonder why he didn’t do it for us then.

I tell her I can’t recall any time we as a family sat down and had dinner or dinners with other relatives.  She tells me how there were occasions when we would have dinner with our grandparents and someone would usually end up crying.

This disturbs me, and I know it to be true as well.  Perhaps I am only used to the mother I know now, who doesn’t yell very often and have lost touch with the one who would to yell at her children.

Florence tells me, “Maggie would start crying if she didn’t eat certain things, or if you were bad and mommy yelled at you, or if I spilled something and get yelled at.”  I ask where dad was during this and I she merely confirms what I’ve been thinking: “eating”.

I imagine my mother’s loud, shrill voice, hurling insults at me in Cantonese while I stare down at my bowl of rice, feeling powerless.  As tears gather in my eyes, I feel aversion and embarrassment of my sisters’ eyes, and my father, watching the news on TV as if nothing was happening at all.

When I ask her if there was anything else we did together, she mentions grocery shopping.  Immediately, I remember that: my father always standing by the cart, indifferent to everything, while my mother, my sisters and I would go help bring preapproved food (by my mom).  But then Florence tells me Maggie and I would go into the toy and book aisles so we “wouldn’t get in the way”, and Florence would she looked after us.

There were questions my older sister couldn’t answer and she advised me to ask my mom, which I was reluctant to do because I didn’t think my mother would give me a straight answer.  My mother is the type of person who might pretend she doesn’t remember something but would simply rather not talk about it.  But I did ask anyway, to listen to what she had to say, when she came home and sat herself down in her green, mushroom-printed nightgown, in front of some Chinese programming on TV.

“Why didn’t we do things as a family?”  My mother gives me a look.

“Sure we did.  We went on vacations and trips…”

“But dad never came.”

“That’s because he would faint on planes,” my mom tells me.  “When you were young, we took a trip to Taiwan and he fainted at the terminal, before getting on the plane.  After that, he never went on another plane.”

I ponder this.  Maybe my dad had an excuse but…

“What about other things?  Like going out or doing activities together?”

“Well, those times we went to grandma’s birthday dinners and those potlucks—

“No, I mean things with just us.”

“We did lots of things together!  We had dinner at home!”

If the first thing my mother answers when I ask her about things we do together is dinner, then I know there’s probably not much else we were all there for.

“No, that doesn’t count.  Other things.”

“We did lots of things.  You just don’t remember,” she replies vaguely, before conveniently getting up and walking to the kitchen.


Perhaps my mother’s right; I just don’t remember the things we used to do.  Or perhaps the memories I’ve been searching for don’t exist.  Whatever the case, I know now that if I am to ever raise a family, I am determined to give them memories – memories they can write down and remember as good ones the rest of their lives.

Sleeping with a Stranger

12 01 2011

Sleeping with a Stranger

Perhaps when I was around 7, 8 or possibly 9 years old, for reasons I do not recall, my family was not in the house for a few days.  They must have gone on a mini-vacation or something and I was either sick or didn’t want to go.  Whatever the reason, I found myself alone.  Except there was a stranger in the house as well: my father.

I had never been close to my father and currently have very few memories of him and I together, even fewer of them are good memories.  When my mother and my sisters left, because I would be sleeping alone, he told me that on the last day, I could come upstairs and spend the night with him in bed.  Naturally, I thought this to be a strange idea; I had never slept with my dad (or at least had no recollection of it) and he didn’t seem particularly lonely.  I didn’t even know if he was serious or not. I don’t even remember if my parents were, at the time, still sleeping in the same bed, but I doubt it.

For a few days, we minded our own business.  I probably didn’t see much of him, as usual, and the house must have been oddly quiet.  On the last day, I wandered up to his room with my pillow.  After a few minutes of getting ourselves ready for bed, I climbed in first, feeling awkward.  He turned off the light and crawled in next to me.

And for a while, neither of us moved.  I lay staring at the ceiling before closing my eyes but I couldn’t sleep on my back.  But as much as I wanted to move, I found myself paralyzed.  What if my dad didn’t like that?  What if he got annoyed at my moving?  Wouldn’t I be bothering him trying to sleep?  Eventually, I froze in that position for a long time, on the edge of the bed, until I willed myself to move quickly on my side when I sensed him moving at the same time, so that I wouldn’t be disturbing him.

I would repeat this maneouver several times that night, being extra careful not to wake the stranger sleeping next to me.

Year End

31 12 2010

This is more for me than anything.  I know reading about my life isn’t the most exciting thing (like many people), but I haven’t written a long personal post in a while.

Fourty-nine minutes to midnight and I’m sitting at my computer, listening to Keane and thinking about how everything’s gone this past year, as I’m sure most people have done sometime today.  I remember last year at around the same time (or was it 2 years ago?), typing up a summary of everything that had happened to me, and noting that I had quite the depressing year overall.

Compared to a year (possibly two), I feel like I am now in a secure place in life; I’m (still) going to school, learning things I love to learn about; I have a fantastic, sweet, and utterly adorable boyfriend; I directed a short script I wrote last year in the summer, which was a great, fun experience; met some unforgettable people whom I continue to influence my life and the creative things I do; finished my demo cd and gave them to people who seemed to want them; lost a former classmate of mine, which was an experience I hope to never feel again (oh, how naive that sounds…); won a $200 gift certificate to Oakridge Mall which I then spent buying food and supplies, donating them to Covenant House.  This is one of the first years I ran fondly recall as a good one, one that I will remember.

I’m glad and thankful to have such an amazing group of friends, who support all my creative endeavours and don’t complain (much) when I make them help me with things I need.  I’m thankful to have good relations (that sounds so formal) with my family and not loathe any of them — well, my immediate family, anyway.  I’m so thankful to be able to express all the things I’m creative at with the world and not have to feel like I’m supressing them in any way.  The only real complaint about this year is how I still feel the lack of impact of everything I do while others seemingly have an easier time.  I have a small group of friends, yes, but things like getting help with my donation campaign really showed me how little/hard it is, at least for me, to make people care/be aware of stuff that I do.  I’ll log on to facebook and I’ll see friends who have a status update with dozens of friends commenting on it, which, honestly, kinda makes me jealous.  It’s not that I want dozens of people commenting on my status, but what I’m trying to say is that I wish more people would take notice of my music (especially), my writing, my films… all that sorta stuff.  Anyway.  I realize it’s hard to make people care and life is not a popularity contest, though I want to feel somewhat popular every now and then, at least with what I do.  That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

Twenty-one minutes to midnight and I’m still typing.  New Year’s resolutions?  Not really.  I set up a blog at the very beginning of this year and I think it’s been quite the success.  It’s sort of gotten me to write a bit more, and for a while in the summer, I posted every single day for more than a month, which I’m very, very pleased with.  In the new year, I suppose I could write more on my blog and in general.  I also want to finish recording some songs, which I’ve been putting off because of my activity with films and stuff for school.  A continuation of my Saturday Morning Documentary series is a definite go and I have to force myself to write more about them, since it’s been a while.  Yup.  That’s about it.

After a truly shitty year, thank you 2010 for making me believe that the future isn’t just full of crap.  I owe you one.

Something feels wrong with me when I say that I feel 2011 is going to be a good year.  Optimism is strange.

Feliz Nuevo Año!