This Body

For my students.
For my travel habit.
For my only 23 years-old self.

I need to take care of this body.

Recently I purchased a gym membership at Fitness First. The place is a dream: the staff is friendly; I have free access to a sauna, tea and coffee; I’m able to join any of the various classes they offer, including ZUMBA; I can go as many times as I want and all for a great price.

I need to take care of this body.

Last month I went salsa dancing, one of my favorite activities to do in Bangkok, it releases a ton of stress and makes my soul sing, this body becomes a thick orchestra, my feet the stage; sadly, I couldn’t dance for long intervals because my legs were so weak, I could barely keep myself and all its strings up. My body was rejecting the very thing it loves to do.

I need to take care of this body.

Kindergarten students require every atom in your body, and then some. My students can play for hours and never got tired! They have enough energy to rotate the Earth, so in order to release some of that movement wiggling in their bodies we twirl and jump and run after nap time. Lately our mini aerobic sessions have been getting shorter and shorter because of me, because my body can’t keep up.

I need to take care of this body.

Travel is one of the few places I have found myself. The best feeling is climbing up a mountain and soaking in the view at the top, and I promise for at least five seconds I can see God, it makes all the trudging up worth it. I somehow have been able to push this body up some high places, despite its protests, but I know if I don’t act soon I won’t be able to avoid its screams and picket signs any longer.

I need to take care of this body, because this body has taken such good care of me–dancing my cares of away, blessing me with fun memories with my students, taking me to great heights.

I want to continue living the best life this body can give me.

So, I NEED to take care of this body.

P.S. Pray for my sweet tooth ya’ll. It’s real.

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when your heart falls like leaves

my heart is fragile
a paper doll in a set of strong, clumsy hands
tossed in the wind
crumpled
a bookmark in a novel he is too lazy to finish

my heart falls as leaves
when summer’s warm, affectionate touch
abandons
the body of trees
i am that tree
left cold
left naked and shaking
left stripped away
of everything you gave me

my heart has been broken
and built
broken
and built
to the point of contentment
to the point of embracing
being broken
because it knows
she will be rebuilt
again.
even more fragile
even more delicate
even more beautiful

love me back

the loving comes easy, the staying, the staying calls on all of my strength,
all of that love 

I love you
and I’m wanting you
to love me back
to embrace
my blackness
like I embrace your language
defend my people
like I defend yours
bless me with kind
prayers
pour sweet smiles
over my hands
and hold them—
tightly
if only
you could see me
like I see you
early in the morning
late in the night
(in my dreams)
always beautiful
and worthy
of staying
of staying
of loving
even when you don’t
love me back

if you saw me like i see you//love me back//the staying

Everything & Nothing

These past few months have been bittersweet. I found a new job that I really enjoy and I have amazing perks that come along with it, such as free housing. All of the comfort and convenience that I didn’t have at my old, crummy job I now have; however, I find myself missing a huge piece that kept me afloat at my previous school–community.

When I tell you my previous job was a MESS, I am not being dramatic. Believe me and the 10+ teachers that also quit last year. The only thing that kept me from losing my sanity was the great group of teachers I had around me. We were a united front, a team of jokesters, a family. So many of my good memories came from them and all of the things we did together: dinner dates, going to the movies, traveling, going bowling, shopping, participating in the Color Run. We were there for each other in the good and the bad. I trusted my co-workers enough to vent, even if it were about the boss. I felt safe with them.

My new co-workers… I don’t even feel safe enough to tell them about my day.

On top of getting new co-workers, I’m also an hour away from my old neighborhood, a neighborhood in which I had built the beginnings of my life here in Thailand. Sure, I had lonely days, but nothing in comparison to what I experience now. I never had to worry about being in a hard place because I knew I had great people within walking distance: my closest co-worker was 10 minutes away; my friend, whom is like a sister to me, was literally around the corner; I knew those who ran a business up the street; heck, I even knew the chicken lady better than most people at my new job. And if I was ever truly in a bind, a quick bike or bus ride away would bring me to other good friends. Sure, I constantly was sweating in my room because I couldn’t afford using too much A/C and I didn’t have functioning appliances to make a decent meal, but I was very much happy and satisfied living there. It was my place with people I knew well.

Perhaps it’s my fault, maybe I could try harder to make new connections in this neighborhood. Or, maybe I still need time and space to heal from the reality that I’m not on my little street anymore.

This whole shift to this new job, in a new neighborhood, with new co-workers hasn’t been all terrible though, I managed to make one good friend; unfortunately, she had to leave early. When she left I was a wet-tissue-and-snotty mess. I curled up into the tightest ball, only coming out for my students and to shower. It took me a while to stop bawling, but I never regained a new friend.

So, now the new semester is starting soon and I did some research on the three new teachers coming in, to be honest, this may be another lonely year for me. I know it’s a bit silly to judge a person based on the little information they allow on their Facebook page, but I don’t doubt my strong sense/third eye of compatibility. I just know.

I have a dream job with dream perks, but my social & emotional life feels like a nightmare.

What strangeness is this–to have everything, but still feel like you have nothing at the same time.

memories

 

Hopeless Romantic (ish)

This post may or may not be the direct effect of my consumption of the sappiest young adult book ever, a solo session watching the movie, and finally playing the soundtrack on loop.

Yeah, it may or may not be…

Anyway, my whole body is like soft tissue now and I don’t know what to do with myself. My heart is caught up in soothing, and yet, terrifying waves that is a love story.

Olly and Maddy* just made it look so effortless, like floating.

My problem is that I can’t float. Like, at all. I panic and soon enough water starts entering every hole in my body until I sink like the Titanic, except there is no Jack and Rose and on this ship– it’s just me.

I do this to myself. Gladly.

I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW that I’m a hopeless romantic. Yes, I believe in soulmates, Prince Charmings,forbidden love being the best kind of love, and the craziest of all, LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT.

Yes, I am a sick human being. Sick with sweet, sticky, artificial love and I’m kind of okay with that.

Soon the heat of the book, the glow of the movie, the beauty of the music will fade away and I’ll see love for what it really is…

nothing that I truly want.

*The main characters of Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

falling in love at a concert

i just felt
love
in its neatest,
easiest form

i’m not alone

and i believed it.

looked around to see similar bodies
chests building and
collapsing
eyes wide & alive
like a child
mesmerized by how much the sun
loves them
follows them home
awakes
and
sleeps
by their side;
awestruck at his mother’s
tummy when she said
there’s a sister inside
–that love exists even when
it’s not seen

similar bodies
broken
by time
by knowledge
by similar bodies

and yet,
built back beautiful again
by all of these disasters.

we
are monuments for everything
human

how could we feel
disconnected?

how could we understand loneliness
when our bodies are this close
to
everything

this is love
in its easiest and neatest form:
our bodies
similar–
this close.

Tender Heart

i’ve been known to fall
like dead leaves
heart first into
men
and their fragility.
feast on cheap
smiles
compliments
one-second-too-long glances
their half-hearted therapy sessions
with me
mother.friend.counselor.
never the lover
never the hand in theirs
just the empty space between fingers
the dirt–forgotten
underneath the nails,
the impenetrable, thick skin
not the blood
not the bones

i fall
every time

but now
i’m trying to forgive myself
rename the falling.
call it something
more beautiful,
more intentional

reshaping my mouth
(with my own hands)
call it:
flying

Him.

And i didn’t cry over him anymore//even though you do not love me

him.
and all his skin
breath
eyes
pulse
taking
up the same space
i
am in. the same
air i am breathing–
for once
not begging
not gasping for
someone to love me back
just sharing this space
like two
full beings with abled hearts
because
i
am
full being,
abled heart
(even still)
(even though you do not love me)
because it’s mine
too
because
i
deserve some room
without having to ask
you first
if
you want me

Unrequited Love

I fell hard and fast
like I usually do.

I thought he was perfect.
Kind
Caring
A gentleman
Considerate
Helpful
Hardworking
Sweet
Down-to-earth
One of those personalities that everyone gets along with
A warm soul that smiles from the depths of his heart

Yes, he had his flaws, but I was ready to take them in as long as I had him, too.

Dramatic?
Maybe.

Hopelessly romantic?
Absolutely.

He’s one of those few people I truly feel comfortable with.
I could be myself and not have to be afraid.
or be timid.
or overthink.

He made me laugh, smile, burst into a billion goosebumps, blush, glow

now I just
wither.

love?
unrequited

friends?
of course
.
.
.
but every meet up I end up looking for his heart
and leave with my chest
vacant.

My Little Black Princess

I have the most beautiful, sassy, intelligent half-Black/half-Thai girl in my class. She is magnificent, but the people here do not notice her amidst the sea of white skin. She is the Black shadow: disappearing in the back of the class, sinking deep into the ground, evaporating into thin air. On her best days she is ignored, on her worst she is noticed and treated differently than her peers.

As her ebony-emboldened big sister I have to remind her every day how beautiful she is, how intelligent she is, how valuable she is. I willingly hold every inch of my body to her as a mirror, showing her that she is not alone–Teacher Kami looks just like you and is fabulous, honey!

It frustrates me that this is the culture my sweet girl has to grow into, that all of her magnificence will try to be leeched out of her skin. I do not care how different our cultures may be, any trace of racism needs to be acknowledged in every nation. Racism needs to be sniffed out, called out, then burned to the ground. I want that ish extinct.

It has no place in a world that celebrates color and difference. If flowers can bloom in their own unique way, why the hell can’t humans do the same?

Some days the ignorance regarding Black people here makes me want to hop on the next plane back to America. It is nauseating the things I have to see on a regular Sunday. For example, this Sunday, I am walking in the grocery store minding my own business, as I always am, and following my movements are snickers, stares, people clutching their bags as if I don’t have a job, which by the way is teaching their kids English in order to provide a better future for them.

Some days I want to say screw you and your ignorance! I teach your damn kids with all of my heart and this is what I get because I’m not white. Fine! I’ll leave. Keep your white men with their lack of experience and lack of true concern for your child’s welfare. Bring them in with open arms as they take your women and leave them. Smile as they box up your culture, then sell it back to you–

What has white man created that he first didn’t destroy?

But even through all of the poison this culture tries to give me, I drink and do not die. I drink and piss it out. Make every one see how resilient this Black body is.

Black people do this magic every day.
We take the insults, the violence, the poison,
and yet, still love, still create, still smile,
still breathe
still breathe
still breathe

I am teaching my little Black girl how to breathe. So every day while I am telling her that she is beautiful, intelligent, and valuable, I am also pushing her like no other student because one day she is going to see the brilliance she brings into every atmosphere and people will be begging her to stay.